1. jimb says

    Been suffering from a cold & cough that Just. Won’t. Go. Away. Not feeling bad enough to stay home, but not well enough to sleep well or feel like doing anything once I get to work. Luckily it’s not been too busy this week. Ah well, I’ll just enjoy Caine’s paint pictures and wait for the end of the day.

  2. The Mellow Monkey says

    I’m drinking coffee and trying to motivate myself into functioning in some capacity.

  3. jimb says

    Damn I didn’t realize there’s theme.

    I think I’ll be nice and spare you all what I was considering adding that I’m “making”. :-)

  4. rq says

    It’s well past 5PM, I say have at it.
    Also, elections tomorrow. Municipal only, but still, it’s its own kind of hell -- my one comfort is that we don’t live in Riga. That’s a special kind of election hell.
    ALSO also the ring came. :) :) :)

  5. says

    I made it home!

    No, I had quite a nice afternoon. It’s my mother’s birthday, so we visited (actually, we always visit on Fridays, but we usually don’t stay for dinner) and I played a bit with my new toy. Though I got to say that the birds were not cooperative.

    It’s got an extra foot to adjust it on the tripod. Because weight isn’t the issue, but getting the centre right is.

  6. busterggi says

    This almost makes my dry-erase marker hand drawn maps on hex-paper almost look primitive in comparison.

  7. says

    Giliell, what size lenses did you get? Mine is small enough that I use it almost always hand held, but it does get heavy without support. (300mm).

  8. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Today I cleaned the cardboard and newspapers from the garage, after five years of neglect. Filled up both cars with cardboard (some didn’t fit in the Probe, but did in the Mazda). Took a load of cardboard to the nearest recycling center. Dumpsters fairly empty, easy to unload (second load first thing tomorrow morning). On the way back, the ’95 Probe developed a large need for the steering wheel to be cocked to the left to keep the car going straight. Got back to town, and had another incremental need for more left. Limped home. The front passenger wheel looks cocked outboard. Ugh. It also has an exhaust problem. I’ll call AAA to see if I can get it towed to the repair shop. Don’t feel safe driving something where the steering control may just break and go away. I want the Probe for another year, as there are things like quantities of mulch I don’t want in the Mazda.

  9. Kreator says

    Please excuse this little rant…
    I really, really hate my small-town cinema. With few exceptions, movies arrive weeks later than in the rest of the country. Wonder Woman is out while I’m still waiting for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2! And when the movies finally do arrive, they’re usually dubbed, when I prefer subs to excercise my English. If I get lucky, there might be a single subtitled showing… but always late at night.
    The only kind of movies that this cinema is good at showing are horror films, which I don’t like but for some reason seem to be quite popular around here. No matter how obscure, they never fail to show up (perhaps it’s cheap to get their rights?) I believe there hasn’t been a single week without a horror film on show for about two months… the one time they showed a horror movie I really wanted to watch, Get Out, something discouraged me from attending. You guessed it: no subtitles! To me they were essential in a movie about racism in America. Special effects will get me to watch GotG and WW regardless of the language, but of course I have no idea when that will be.
    I really want to go to the cinema, but for now my only choices are a horror film and a cheap cartoon. Ugh.

  10. says

    Winter has officially arrived at 35 Degrees South, and it looks like its going to be a dry one. Crystal clear skies, little wind, and frost in the valley bottoms. I have to make sure partner can get the fire going herself tonight, as I’m off to join in an outer country ride tomorrow early morning. Brother lives 1/2 an hour away from the start so I’ll stay with him instead of driving for three hours in the frosty morning. Should be a good day to ride bush tracks where I haven’t been before. There may be pictures following.

  11. says

    Incoming rant 3..2..1…

    Despite what I said, I have tried to help my uncle. A big mistake that I alas tend to do often. Saying “no” is something I have to actively work at.

    I went to his house regularly to pick his post for him and check everything is OK -- this has cost me about two hours every week. I dealt with police when someone kicked the door down, and subsequently repaired said door and secured the house. I wisited him regularly with my mother. My mother brought him home made croissants, a family recipe from his father, and we bought him some little things he needed. Not ONCE did we hear a “thank you” from him.

    Previous week the doctor has allowed him a visit to the bank so he can start getting his financial affairs in order, so I took him there. And he signed me full controll of his account so I can eventually pay his bills for him without using my own money (incidentally, when I thougth he has financial problems, I offered him help -- but after I found out a few weeks ago that he has more money than I do, I told him that I wont pay a single thing for him). The one condition I agreed upon on this was that he will close a contract with the care institution for elderly in which he resides, so the resident social worker can help him. I was to be sent the bills and to pay them from his account. I explicitly told him that this is essential because I do not simply have the time to run his errands for him, I have enought errands of my own. My mother is just as old as he is, and my father is just one year younger.

    He declined to sign the contract, because he deemed the monthly fee too expensive! He could pay the bill from his hoard for almost two years even if he had no pension -- which he has! He could pay it from his pension and sit on his hoard and the hoard would still grow -- and it included housing, food, cloth washing and a private room with TV AND help of professional social worker!

    I do not understand this. If he was hoarding money to have security in his old age, then this is the exact time he should stop hoarding it and start using it. The old miser simply wants to sit on his money living in his dumpster pile and not use it or what?

    So I have lost my patience with him for good. I went for his post one last time, I brougth it to him and I told him that this is my last visit, that I have enough of his lies. He really is on his own now, I am not going to sacrifice my sanity on his behalf.

    I hate the whole affair.

  12. says

    I think I’m trying to kill myself the last couple of days, can’t do anything without slicing a finger or other part open, stepping on sharp stuff, backing into stuff, whacking my head on whatthefuckever, falling over, yadda, yadda, yadda. I think I need a couple of days in bed, and if the fucking server doesn’t get fixed, might just do that.

  13. says

    Thanks, Anne. Add dropping everything to the list. I had that chat with my neurodoc before he walked on: “I keep involuntarily dropping things.” “You have a disconnect in your brain.” “Gee, thanks, Doc, that clears it all up.” Doc laughed.

    It’s remarkable how pouring paint from a height is rejuvenation to spirit, if not body. Fun. Gonna go have more.

  14. says

    Christ, the fucking piece of shit server which still isn’t fucking fixed is being such a pain in the ass, things will get started on Sunday whenever. Sorry, folks.

  15. says

    Also, PZ posted this on his open thread, so I’m reposting, because if anyone has idears, please, say!

    All of our ads are under the control of a third party company (Patheos, if you must know) that doesn’t seem to care much about the quality of what comes through, and also advertisers are in an escalating war to become more and more intrusive.

    We’re going to shake this up this summer. I’ve got a few recommendations for better ad hosts, more suggestions are welcome!

    We’re also considering a fund raiser to just pay for our yearly server/maintenance costs, and then cutting way back on the ads, which will then be just generating profit to be shared with the bloggers. We also welcome other suggestions for revenue generation. The ad model is slowly decaying into corruption for everyone.

  16. chigau (違う) says

    A few hours ago, I put some laundry to dry on the line outside.
    Then, with cooking and reading and knitting … kinda forgot about it
    now it it very late and raining but
    I am certain that the laundries can handle the extra rinse

  17. says

    Sorry to hear. Unfortunately, many people cope with having to depend on aid by becoming petty*. I understand it’S a coping mechanism, after all it shows that you don’t really depend on those people. But remember that no, they’re not entitled to your personal time.

    *My BFF took in her mum, who since then keeps driving her up the tree by being passive aggressive about “nobody cares about me” like sitting at the table with an empty glass, sighing and moaning and complaining about how she could probably die of dehydration and nobody would notice instead of just asking somebody to pass her the water bottle, on the one hand and claiming that she really doesn’t cause them any work on the other hand.

    Grading, which sick bastard invented it?

  18. Kengi says

    Yay! I couldn’t take the slow loads only to be met with a gateway error when trying to post a reply. Probably even more aggravating for you.

    Now comes chasing down the small bugs from the move. Like “Preview” no longer working…

  19. says

    Yes, I’ve mentioned that preview isn’t working behind the scenes. The migration isn’t quite complete yet, so there are bound to be hiccups here and there.

  20. says

    I was not quite happy with my macro-photography. Particularly the lighting problem. Flash is of course not of much help because it casts sharp shaddows everywhere. So I tried to build myself a light diffuser out of a few sheets of paper.

    Either it works or I got lucky, but I made a few pretty pictures today.

    I always longed to see the tiny critters in my garden up close, and now I finally can. I only wish I had this opportunity when I was studying.

  21. Kengi says


    On the P900 I never got much use out of the flash on macro work. It seemed my subject was nearly always in the lens shadow and the pup-up flash just wasn’t high enough to get the light where I needed it. With the D200 I’ve been recently using, however, the pop-up flash seems to work pretty well. I really should diffuse the light, but haven’t so far. I turn the flash intensity down and compensate a little with exposure, or even a little gamma boost in post processing.

    When I’ve made my own diffusers in the past, I’ve used the plastic from backup tape cassette cases. It seems the right density and is also effective in the IR range. I’ve even used that material to diffuse IR spotlights for night-vision cameras.

    I’m thinking about better lighting solutions as well for macro. My friend lent me a flash unit for the hot shoe which I still haven’t tried, but hopefully will before I need to give it back. It has a slew of diffusers that came with it, and would also get the light a little higher than with the pop-up unit.

    I may also try making my own ring-light for around the lens. Just need several LED’s and a power-pack I can wire in a potentiometer to. Been thinking about mounting. Dad and I have been kicking around some drawings to use a cheap filter ring I could take the glass out of. To mount the battery pack I could buy anything cheap with a hot shoe mount and cannibalize it.

    Or, maybe just buy a little battery powered book light or desk lamp on a goose-neck with a brightness control and mount that from the hot shoe, then shine it where I want from above or the side.

  22. Kengi says

    I should also add that with the D200 I get more stand-off range with the camera than with the P900. They both were at 105mm (135 equivalent), but with the D200 I’m using an FX lens on a camera with a DX sensor, so I’m actually getting a 157mm focal length. The closest I can focus is 12″ from the focal plane, which is about 6″ from the front of the lens. On the P900 I was often less than an inch from the front of the lens because it was such a long lens. That made lens shadow a much larger problem on the P900.

  23. says

    @Kengi, thanks for your thoughts on the matter, some day I hope to understand all of what you are talking about, not only most of it :-)

    I remember once glimpsing somewhere on the internet how someone has made a custom light scattering shape out of transparent pattex hot glue sticks bent into diferent shapes, maybe that would help in conjunction with a strong pocket torch to make illuminating ring. And before I made my diffuseur I looked on the internet how others have done it and I glimpsed one design that used for fiber optics something like transparent fishing line, but that looked way too complicated and I would have to buy a few things not readily available in the household, so I did not look at it closer.

    Therefore I have made myself essentially a paper half-cone that is on the inside covered with aluminioum foil. It is very light, so I can slip it onto the pop-up flash and it holds there without risk of damaging it. For even more scattering I taped a paper-napkin over the outlet. Production time about 2 hours, costs a few cents.

    Of course I get what I pay for, but life cannot be all candy. I sure as hell am not going to buy anything new anytime soon, although I am itching greatly when I see the pictures that can be done with DSLR cameras. But I hope to be set (camera wise) for ten years, just like I was previously with my trusted coolpix 4300.

  24. Kengi says

    I thought I’d be set with my P900 as well, but it was macro that gave me the the DSLR bug. After a summer of trying to get better macro shots out of the camera I realized I was near the limit of what the camera could physically do and started yearning (and saving up for) an inexpensive DSLR. I was lucky when Cain recently offered her old D80 to me and was discussing having my friend help me clean it when he mentioned he was willing to give me his old D200 body, which was older than the D80, but used a very similar sensor, and was already clean and ready to go. (It has the same sensor from a visual perspective, but the D200 has four data channels instead of the two on the D80 so it gets 5 fps burst instead of 3 fps on the D80.)

    Yeah, it really made a difference. Better optics, smoother colors on the sensor (despite being 11 year old tech), much better control of focus (and better control of, well, everything), ability to close the lens down really tight for decent depth of field, and so on.

    I miss using the LCD screen for composition, especially with the incredible tilt-swivel, but that’s about it. I’ll keep the P900 for bird shots since the lens in incredible for that. I only have the single macro lens for the D200, but that’s all I’ll use it for. At least for now. Maybe in a few years I’ll save up enough for whatever a D500 will cost at that time, and get a zoom lens for bird photos. It would be awesome to have full-time AE/AF even in high-speed shooting.

  25. StevoR says

    Some impressive work by Aussie scientists here :

    The researchers created a comprehensive worldwide database that charts 43 greenhouse gases over 2,000 years.It shows how carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are at higher levels than they have ever been at any time over the last 800,000 years, according to the ice core records going back that far.

    Plus what was the deal with Nicaragua not joining the Paris Accords? :

    Turns out the Nicaraguans don’t think the agreement went far enough and raise some good points there incl.

    Mr Oquist (Nicaraguan lead envoy – ed) said the world’s 10 biggest carbon polluters accounted for 72 per cent of historical emissions, while the 100 smallest were responsible for just 3 per cent.

    Un-fun fact but probably a good one to know.

    Likewise -- and with some marvellous images of wonderful creatures here :

    This does NOT reflect well on my country and is a big worry and sign that, again, our priorities are seriously fouled up.

    (Preview still not working btw for me anyhow. FWIW.)

  26. StevoR says

    ^ Mea culpa. Second paragraph after first link should be in blockquotes. Sorry.

  27. says

    Came home with a lovely Schwinn Frontier mountain bike, 45 dollars at a Mandan Pawn shop. Just back from a ride, she’s in lovely shape, very nice bike, and I’m pleased I didn’t have to fork over 350 dollars for it. Oh, and she’s an odd sort of purple. I like it.

  28. says

    I had a pretty nice day. I walked up to the bank, then I drove some errands. I found an interesting book at a friends of the library shop -- The Cruise of the Snark by Jack London. He and his wife decided to build their own boat and sail the South Seas. Wackiness ensues.

    Caine, sounds like a good find!

  29. says

    Me, I’m still trying to cope with massive anxiety and panic because of all the shitty people I have to deal with. Especially helpful when you’d actually need your full energy and capacities to deal with your workload.

  30. kestrel says

    We got hit with a big hail storm yesterday and it has wiped out my garden. :-( Will probably have to start over. But, a nice thing happened yesterday too. We were driving back in from town when we saw a magnificent gopher snake slowly crossing the highway. Knowing he was in danger, we stopped, I hopped out and caught him, and I brought him back to our house to live. We love snakes and would never knowingly drive over one, unlike a lot of our neighbors!

  31. Saad says

    Girls’ soccer team disqualified because 8 year old “looks like a boy”

    An eight-year-old girl’s soccer team was reportedly disqualified from a tournament on Sunday because organizers told her she “looks like a boy.”

    Per, Mili Hernandez plays for Omaha Azzuri Cachorros’ under-11 team, who were due to compete in the Springfield Soccer Club competition in Nebraska before being told four hours prior to kickoff they would not be allowed to compete, despite her parents showing identification proving she is a girl.

    Hernandez told Omaha TV station WOWT 6 (h/t “Just because I look like a boy doesn’t mean I am a boy. They don’t have a reason to kick the whole club out.”

    Her father, Gerardo Hernandez, said she “was in shock. She was crying after they told us. … They made her cry.”

    Further, Hernandez said the tournament organizers “didn’t even want to take” his daughter’s medical insurance card, which was offered as proof she is a girl.

  32. says


    The Cruise of the Snark by Jack London

    That sounds like fun!

    Giliell, sorry things are still being so hellish for you. Is there an end in sight?

    Lofty, yes. Yes it is.

  33. jimb says

    Lofty @ 48:

    A purple bike is a good bike.

    Indeed. I had a purple bike in middle school. Sounds like a great find, Caine.

    Saad @ 50:

    Girls’ soccer team disqualified because 8 year old “looks like a boy”

    What is wrong with people??!!?? Fucking hell…..

  34. says


    I had a purple bike in middle school.

    My stingray from long ago was purple. With a white banana saddle.

  35. says

    Summer next year. I think they’re subconsciously hoping for me to give up, because that would prove that the problem was me all along.
    It’s how subconscious bias (38 already? 2 kids? She’s got no time to really work for this! Fat? Fat people are lazy anyway) works anyway. They’d deny all of this and gaslight the fuck out of me if I mentioned it.

  36. kestrel says

    The soccer team thing is disgusting. Anybody picking on children has my disdain and contempt. And I can’t help but wonder how much that incident was driven by not only phobia over a person’s gender but racism.

    On a cheerier note hooray for the color purple! And a new bike!

  37. says


    Summer next year.

    Oh gods. All my sympathies. You will be a great teacher, you know that, so fuck ’em. What do they think you’re doing with your own sprogs? All parents have to teach.

    Got your comments out -- Akismet has run amok again with the server migration, so if comments don’t show, yell at me to check the spam trap. We don’t get a handy indicator when there are comments in it, so most of us don’t think about it.

  38. says

    Giliell I am sorry to hear you have to cope with such a shitty work environment. I hope things will get bearable soon, I cannot imagine enduring something like that for almost two years. In all probability I would have snapped and told someone off in no uncertain terms. Fingers crossed.

  39. says

    Thanks for the sympathy.
    Thing is, as soon as I’m teaching, everything is fine. It’s just their shitty “evaluations”.
    Today was another “small” one, but with the one sane guy. I afterwards mentioned that I think that something’s going wrong with how they evaluate me.
    Well, for now I’m kind of done with this school year. Although it’s still two weeks we have hardly any teaching left.

  40. Saad says

    Manspreading banned on Madrid public transportation

    Along with signs for ‘no smoking’ or ‘no littering,’ commuters in Madrid will soon see a new unfamiliar one: No manspreading.

    The transit agency in the Spanish city said it will post the signs on all buses asking men to keep to one seat and one seat only.
    Manspreading, in case you didn’t know, is when men spread their legs with no regard to others’ personal space.

    The new sign shows a cartoon man with his legs spread sitting on a metro seat. A giant X signals it as unacceptable behavior.

    Bro tears incoming.

    They made the Rosa Parks comparison about the Wonder Woman screenings. This time it really is about buses. :D

  41. kestrel says

    Thank you, Saad -- that is some happy news that brings a smile to my face this morning. Looking forward to those bro tears… :-)

  42. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Achieved a minor goal today, in my efforts to clean up Casa la Peliroja. Trashed/recycled enough stuff in the garage, and rearranged what was left, and was able to get the Mazda into the garage (the ’95 Probe died a death by rust). Back-up cameras are wonderful!!!
    Good timing as Summer seems to have struck with vengeance. Black cars in the direct sun get very toasty….

  43. says

    I went yardsaleing this morning and encountered a Trump voter in the wild -- I bought a Weeping Angel plushie from her. Next thing I knew she was going on about how dangerous it’s gotten in England, what with all those Sharia churches, and then she started on our governor and his plot to drill two yuuuge tunnels under the Sacramento river to send all the water to LA.

    Um. Errr. I think most people are good, hadn’t heard about the tunnels, thanks and have a nice day, I said. I gave the Weeping Angel to Kitty; it’ll go nicely with her Dalek. I guess being an old white lady in the OC, people make assumptions about me. Just as well she didn’t see the bumper stickers.

  44. says

    Also, yesterday.
    A lot of it.

    First of all, the little one had her first soccer tournament. While that sounds rather stereotypical for US girls, it’s still seriously gender non-conforming for European girls (there’s probably two competing branches of evolutionary psychology explaining while US girls evolved to play soccer but European girls didn’t evolve to play what we call football).
    First of all was me and her friend’s mum wondering about a phrase in the letter announcing the tournament: “The tournament starts at 10 am, we go there together by bus”. Sounds odd, but since we had no further information, we took it to mean “the bus leaves at 10 am”.
    Next point: I thought it was an indoor competition. Kid forgot her indoor shoes at school, so we went to the sports shop at 9:30 (opening time) to get new shoes. When we came out her friend’s mum had left me a message that the bus had actually left at 8:45, which was in a letter our kids had forgotten to hand us, so we had to take ours there by car.
    It was an outdoor even, so she could have used her normal running shoes. She owes me ice cream.

    Next part: Men, even the good ones, simply cannot be trusted with spotting sexism. Yesterday we ordered the flooring for the house. While we were still browsing through the samples, as sales assistant asked if he could help us. Well, not yet, but later. Nevertheless, he felt it necessary to tell Mr that when we ordered he’d tell him how much their workmen usually get paid so he could then hold up his hand to me.
    I only asked why he thought it was my husband doing that work.
    Anyway, he left us again, and when we were finished choosing and went looking for assistance, Mr said “the guy who tried to help us was nice!” I gave him a side glance and was happy we found the other guy.
    When I told Mr later that no, the guy was NOT nice he was taken aback. Oh, right, he was nice to him.

  45. kestrel says

    @Giliell: Oh boy, the little one owes you big time! Good work on getting that to happen. The things parents go through!

    Isn’t it amazing how deep that sort of sexist behavior is. I think of it like a fish swimming in water. That water becomes a part of them; they never even notice it, even when that water is polluted.

  46. says

    When I was a teenager I hated the state high school I was at with an intensely corrosive despair. I would slope to and from school in a dull brown funk, handing my mum any notices unread and returned the signed slips to the school, unread. Guess who was the only student in a school of 1000 who didn’t know the sex ed classes were on that day. I paid a little more attention after that.

  47. says

    I would probably have used “missing a tournament” as a natural consequence if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve been mildly neglecting the kids recently, happy to be left alone in my despair whenever possible. It’s not fair to expect 1st graders to be perfect little organizers.

    Ohhh, sex ed! #1 started sex ed these weeks. Yes, nasty Germany thinks it’s a good idea to teach them what puberty is before they reach it.
    They talked about the fact that in puberty certain hormones make your body change, for example, the penis grows. The teacher asked if anybody knew what the hormone was called. #1 suggested “penis fertiliser”. I almost drove into a lamp post when she told me.

  48. says

    Giliell, you are a much more even-tempered mom than I ever was. “Penis fertilizer”? Makes sense to me, in a metaphorical sort of way.

    By the way, has anyone been able to subscribe to threads since the move? I keep trying, but the emails aren’t coming.

  49. says

    Aaaauuuuuuuggggghhh. I had to take a whitescreen outside to get some photographs, stepped on something kinda sharp, went to check, and there’s a fucking tick on my flips, another on my foot, one on my leg, and another above it, already half dug in. Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, I HATE ticks. Then I dumped my jeans in a hot bleach wash, which I had to stop after 3 minutes, to fish my fucking lens cap out of the back pocket. I hate ticks. Hate them.

  50. says

    Oh, I wish it was only three ever. Ticks are attracted to me like I am just a lovely, thin bag o’ blood. I’ve had Rick pull nine of them off me at one time. So far, that’s the record.

  51. says

    I feel for you. Ticks just love some people. As a kid my tick protection usually was being with my cousin. In the evening we’d be dumped into a joint bath and afterwards inspected for ticks. He’d have several, me none.

  52. says

    Ouch. I had the same thing going with mosquitoes as a child but now all the bloodsuckers seem to leave me mostly be.

  53. says


    As a kid my tick protection usually was being with my cousin. In the evening we’d be dumped into a joint bath and afterwards inspected for ticks. He’d have several, me none.

    That’s Rick with me. He does provide the tick removal service, though.


    I had the same thing going with mosquitoes as a child but now all the bloodsuckers seem to leave me mostly be.

    Mosquitoes and fleas, they go after Rick way more than me. I’d rather have mosquitoes than ticks.

  54. says

    From Opus to Kengi:

    I was going to try to post the picture of my macro setup in TNET for Kengi but can’t figure out how to get the set-up, the ‘before’ shot and the finished product in one post. Maybe you can help?

    I’m using four LED lights rather than flash: a lot cheaper and easier to set up, especially with live view. I sprung for Ott lights, for fabric work as well as photography, but any LED with the right Kelvin rating should work. Black fabric for a background, PVC pipe for adding a fabric flash diffuser (cheap fabric) if needed, and the latest in high-tech height adjustments. (Pro Tip: It’s a LOT easier to adjust the object in the lens rather than the camera when shooting multiple exposures in macro.)

    The final version is a stack of 53 photos, using Helicon software.

    The neatest part: the picture is entirely accidental. I pruned a butterfly weed (surgical scissors and really needed a loupe) trying to get one unopened bud for a photo. The ones I cut off dropped into the water and lined up around the edge of the jar. I abandoned the bud I had left and started working on the water photo immediately when I saw what they looked like. It took four tries (30-50 shots each and a little over an hour) to get the one I attached. It is straight out of the software; no post-editing at all.

    Set Up (click for full size):

    Before (click for full size):

    Everyone will have to wait for the finished product, sorry, it will be up in the morning, main page! It’s stunning.

  55. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The clean-up of the garage included getting a bundle of fluorescent tubes and sacks of CFLs to be recycled. The car is loaded. Tomorrow I will drop them off in Highland Park recycling center, along with some styrofoam packaging, as it is only open on Tuesdays from 7 am to 1 pm. I had a last minute addition to the CFL bags as a light had burned out. I replaced both CFLs in the fixture, as it is difficult to change the lights in that fixture. That leaves me with 3 spare CFLs, 2 60 watt equivalent for the bathroom, and a 100 watt equivalent for the Sun room.
    Looks like I need to purchase some LEDs for the CFLs that will be burning out over time. Or I might change out the outdoor CFLs (they start out dim in cold weather) for LEDs, and keep them as spares for the basement. I did trash all the remaining tungsten bulbs, as they hadn’t been used in years, and won’t be in the future. Now I have an empty shoe box for the spare LEDs.

  56. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Probably the last item in the to-do list, for electrical consumption/food disposal, is the 1980’s vintage freezer in the basement. An old Freon 12 unit from circa 1980. It’s about half full of stuff, but being a freezer, the expiration date can be extended. I don’t think so Tim. Any stuff from Prior to the Stroke is over its expiration date. A lot of coffee will be summarily discarded.
    I’m looking forward to the date when I call ComEd to pick it up, and get my $50….

  57. chigau (違う) says

    I ♥ The Internets:
    Meshiuma (メシウマ) is a Japanese slang word originating from 2channel, which is a shortened version of 他人の不幸でメシがうまい (tanin no fukou de meshi ga umai), whose meaning is “Other people’s misfortunes make the food tasty”, which is a metaphor for “getting aroused from the misfortunes of others”, thus it’s the Japanese word for “schadenfreude”.

  58. says

    My last curly CFL’s got removed over a year ago. The current crop of 4000K or 5000K color temp (=”natural”) LED globes are really good and bright and not at all headache inducing. Even the local supermarket had some 11W 4000K ones on special the other day, fitted a friend’s place out with them and she’s tickled.

  59. says

    Oh, wow, the university building where I had most of my classes almost burned down because of the old and faulty electricity.
    Oh, and the fire alarm system they used was to send students around to tell people.
    “Because the building will be renovated in a few years” they didn’t even install 5 for a tenner smoke detectors that are obligatory for private homes.
    I know, universities don’t give a fuck about the humanities, but burning people alive seems to be a tad over the top.

  60. kestrel says

    @Giliell, #85: Talk about stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime… That’s just crazy. People seem to want to be reactive rather than proactive.

    I’ve slowly been replacing bulbs and I love the light these new LED lights give out. I know people who swore they would never give up the old type of bulb; they are really missing out in my opinion.

    Last doe due today or tomorrow! Then I will be “kidded out”, one more week of staying up all night with kids and I’ll be able to have a chance at a full night’s sleep!

  61. says

    Holy shit, yesterday I write about the near catastrophe because of old wiring in my old university building and the abysmal state of fire safety, today a 27 storey building in London is on fire.

    This is what a residents’ group had to say about fire safety last November:

    It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders.

    They fucking predicted this.
    How is this not terrorism and mass murder of poor people?

  62. says

    @Giliell not terrorism, because intent does matter for classification, but deffinitively mass murder by neglect. Those responsible should spent a lot of time in jail and their ill gained wealth should be confiscated.
    But that will not happen. At best some poor sod who obeyed orders down the line gets the blame, maybe even some middle management if the police and prosecurors are persistent and thorough. But the top wil remain unsullied.
    Just like Piech and Winterkorn are too still free and still millionaires, although they killed (albeit indirectly) thousands of people.
    I bought some optical fiber for 10,-€ I am going to try and make “flash-ring” for my camera. Hopefully a fun project for some rainy afternoon.

  63. says

    I’m not sure.
    If terrorism is using violence to strike fear in the hearts of a population to reach a goal (further destruction of social housing and accelerated gentrification), then it fits pretty well.
    But you are right. There won’t be any far reaching consequences.
    Not for the council, not for Boris Johnson who closed down the fire stations and sold their fucking fleet.

    You know we’re refurbishing our house, so I know a thing or two about insulation and what they did there is incredibly bad.

  64. says

    Maybe I missed or misunderstood something, but from what I have read, I do not think that “further destruction of social housing and accelerated gentrification) was the intent of the owners. Their intent seems to be “cutting corners on safety measures in order to line the pockets”. Morally they are no better than terrorists of course.

    Maybe we need a word for people like that? People who intentionally balance on the very edge of the law in order to amass wealth they do not, in fact, need or use. We already have two -- entrepreneur and manager -- but those are not generally understood as insults and/or carrying strong negative connotations and social stigma as the word “terrorist” does (although I use both of these words in casual conversations as synonyms to “asshole” quite often and quite long).
    Sorry to nitpick on that. I feel cranky right now because I am seeing -- again -- the consequences mindless management focused exclusively on skimming the most money in the shortest term. Not “sufficient money” or “good money” but “the most possible money” just for the money itself. An awful lots of high ranking managers apparently think that laws of physics will change to their liking if they throw money on a problem and/or threaten employees into submission. In fact a few years back I coined at work just the phrase “Laws of physics will not change because of anybody, not even CEO.” when I was threatened that a certain problem has escalated to the top and I absolutely must do as they wish. I had to use that phrase quite often from that time onward.

    This is one of the things that bothers me about how Lord Vetinari deals with Moist von Lipwig in Raising Steam. To say “I give you the problem, you give me the solutions, do not bother me with technicalities and you are absolutely forbidden to say no” is to me a sure sign of an arrogant, self-centered idiot, and Vetinary is no idiot. At least on Discworld Moist has magic golems to fall back to, but in our world we are stuck with our reality and problems that defy the laws of physics do not get magically solved just because there is a deadline, a limited budget and “strong businessman” threatening to fire anyone who talks back.

  65. says

    Yesterday evening my uncle requested to talk with me again, he wanted to sign me control over his second bank account and agreed to perhaps sign the contract with the care facility provided I review it first so he does not get scammed. So I wanted to visit him today afternoon and try to explain to him that the conract is in fact completely fair and reasonable.

    It is moot now. I just learned that today morning he had a massive stroke. Whether he survives it is questionable. At his age, even if he survives, he surely will not recover.


  66. Saad says

    Pakistani man sentenced to death for Facebook post with derogatory remarks about Muhammad

    On Saturday, 30-year-old Taimoor Raza became the first person to receive a death sentence in a Pakistan anti-terrorism court for “using derogatory remarks … in respect of the Holy Prophet” on social media.

    [. . .]

    Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said in March “nothing can be greater than our religion to us” in stopping blasphemy on the internet.
    “If social media platforms do not cooperate with us despite all our efforts, then we will take the strictest of measures against such platforms in the country,” he said.
    In May, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority sent millions of citizens a text message warning them against sharing blasphemy online.
    “The uploading and sharing of blasphemous content on the internet is a punishable action under the law. Such content should be reported for legal action,” the alert said.

    These horrific free speech violations need to be stopped. People shouldn’t be killed for making fun of religion and people who preach hatred for marginalized people shouldn’t be disinvited from…..*snickers*…. sorry, I can’t do it.

  67. says

    @Anne, Cranky Cat Lady
    Thank you. Situation changes every minute. At the hospital they found out he does not have a stroke, but really, realy bad hypoglycaemia. Cause unkown. I am baffled at how that could be mistaken for a stroke at first by an experienced physician.

  68. Ogvorbis: A bear of very little brains. says


    This will be short as I cannot sit for very long (or stand, or lay down, or whatever).

    On Monday the 5th I fell about 20 feet, landed on my back in a small river (on rocks), spent the night in a hospital and am now nursing four broken vertebrae (L2-L5, broken lateral processes (and definitely some nerve damage — fiery pain and occasional numbness down into my left hip)) and two broken ribs (11, 11 & 12). Plus a massive haematoma around my spleen. I see my doctor for a follow-up tomorrow. Luckily, this was a workplace injury so I’m still on full pay.

    Hugs to all. I’ll check in when I have the enegy.

  69. kestrel says

    Ogvorbis: A bear of very little brains, holy shit I am so sorry! Glad that at least you are on full pay, that is something you don’t have to worry about anyway. I hope the healing goes well, and I hope you are supplied with adequate pain killers. May you be able to rest without pain and get some sleep!

  70. says

    Jesus, Ogvorbis! You aren’t supposed to fall, you’re supposed to rescue those who do. I’m glad you’re alive, very glad, but those are very serious injuries. You take all the care in healing and recovering.

  71. Ogvorbis: A bear of very little brains. says


    Thanks. I’m off the heavy duty pain pills, taking muscle relaxers and lots of anti-inflammatory meds. But, on the bright side, I pooped for the first time a week-and-a-half. Opioids make pooping really tough.


    Thanks. The fire and rescue company got to use the Stokes litter, a backboard and the floaties for the Stokes.

    I’m damn lucky. If I had landed on my face, or my head, I’d be dead. Scary.

    And then, to top it off, as Wife headed up to the hospital, the hospital chaplain called her to ask where she was and told her “I’ll meet you at the door.” Nothing more. No, “He’s heading for surgery,” or, “He’s resting,” or, “We’re waiting on some tests.” No, just “I’ll meet you at the door.” Which put Wife into serious panic mode.

    When I first went in , they were cutting off my uniform, doing an ultrasound, and setting up for x-rays all at the same time. They did CAT scans of my head, neck, abdomen, hips, really fast (usually one waits weeks for a CAT scan (when I realized that, I got even more frightened)). And that was with 20mg of morphine and two shots of Fentenol. Still in pain, but really didn’t care. I talked to the trauma doctor later and he said that with the swelling showing up around my spleen and liver, they were concerned about lacerations on those organs. Luckily, just massive bruising (it looks like five ink pens drained themselves onto my side and lower back).

    I am cooking for the first time since the fall. Some boneless ribs are marinating in olive oil, lime juice, salt, chili powder, and cumin. That with some quick pico de gallo and some corn chips and Wife and i are set for dinner.

    Doing lots of reading.

    Charly: Thanks.

    chigau: Thanks. The pain from the nerve and the pain from the haematoma is bad enough that the back and ribs are a really minor ache.

    Heading for bed now. G’night.

  72. says


    I am cooking for the first time since the fall. Some boneless ribs are marinating in olive oil, lime juice, salt, chili powder, and cumin.

    I see your sense of humour remains intact. Sleep as well as possible!

  73. jimb says

    Charly: Sorry to hear about your uncle. Hopefully a better prognosis than if it had been a stroke?

    Ogvorbis: Holy shit! Wow, glad to hear you are (mostly) OK. Damn. Hope for a good and full recovery.

  74. says

    When I was looking for items for Cool Stuff Friday, I came across this artist.

    It strikes me as blatant stealing, and worse, arrogant stealing. This sort of thing really gets under my skin. It’s already damn near impossible to protect your work on the net, and I really loathe the idea and the work behind the thievery, which is looking at making her some money.

  75. StevoR says

    @100 & #95. Ogvorbis: Whoah! That sucks and glad you are still with us.Wishing you as speedy and smooth a recovery as possible. Huge respect from me.

    Excellent interview with Vanessa Redgrave :

    VANESSA REDGRAVE: Yes, but aware isn’t good enough. We’ve got to stop this terrible treatment of refugees.

    EMMA ALBERICI: What do you think you brought to the debate that hadn’t been ventilated before?

    VANESSA REDGRAVE: Historical perspective. I don’t think people can make judgements if all the judgements are limited to “How many do you want to bring in? You want to bring in too many? Bring in fewer. How many, how many is fewer?”

    That kind of discussion is hopeless. It’s got to be what’s at stake for all of us? For all of us, in a situation where wars are ravaging our planet. … (Snip) … But I do think is that people talk about preaching to the converted which is all total codswallop, rubbish. There’s no such thing as being converted forever. Absolutely no such thing.

    What one is talking about is keeping humanity alive.

  76. chigau (違う) says

    Caine #106
    The link quotes her thus:
    …she tells Creators. “I thought I had the internet memorized…”
    She’s 11 or 12 years old…
    and stupid

  77. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Got busy for a few days.
    Ogvorbis, glad to hear you are recovering. I concur that opioids can give one a bad case of constipation. I had one pill at the hospital after my scalp bumps were removed, and I was blocked up for four days. Sleep well.
    Charly, glad to hear you don’t have to deal with a stroke victim. Hopefully, your uncle will let you change his situation.
    I’m just about done with tossing the RT food in the basement, and should have the last in the trash late next week. Unless, of course, I find another stash.
    I think I’ll start in on the guest room, being both the easiest to clean, and once the bed is free, I can have overnight guests. Maybe my sister would like to visit and see if there is any of the Redhead’s stuff she might want.

  78. kestrel says

    @109, Nerd: that is a lovely idea, having a place so your sister can come visit. Mine is about to visit me. Visiting with sisters can be a very good thing. Here is hoping she stops by soon.

    Last two days of staying up all night with kids, yay. Soon I’ll have a chance at a good night’s sleep.

  79. says


    The link quotes her thus:
    “…she tells Creators. “I thought I had the internet memorized…””
    She’s 11 or 12 years old…
    and stupid

    She’s making money off the backs of other artists, and doesn’t give one tiny shit about it, either. What’s she’s doing isn’t stupid, but it’s damned fucking arrogant. She seems to think all the images on the net exist exclusively for her use.

  80. chigau (違う) says

    You’re right.
    I didn’t see any Disney or Pixar images in her stuff so, yeah, not that stupid.

  81. chigau (違う) says

    If picturing me picking through my poo for two days does that for you.
    (I didn’t find it.)
    I wish tetth were included in our socialized medicine.

  82. kestrel says

    AHA! There they are. :-) THANK YOU, Caine! I was drowning in spam there…

    I too wish Ogvorbis a swift recovery. Sound like progress has been made, and I feel really bad for your wife… I’ve had to go through things like that and it is not a fun thing at all…

  83. says

    [big pile of hugs]

    Aged Mum didn’t call this afternoon, and I haven’t been able to get through to her either. The old corded bedroom phone is probably off the hook again, but it’s still worrying. The caregivers both have cellphones and my number (although I don’t have theirs), so if anything is wrong, they’d call. But still I worry. Gah.

  84. rq says

    *hugs* and *higs* for everyone. Been wrapped up in my own head and probably will be for the next little while, but my best wishes all ’round!

  85. says

    rq, hugs right back atcha.

    The young, lost turkey was back again, hanging by the studio side feeding station. She looked so forlorn, standing in the wind. I wish to fuck her family would show back up. I did get to talk to her a little bit. She walked off, but slowly, not panicking at all.

  86. says

    Heads can be crowded places

    Not in the Schadenfreude sense, but in the “I’m relieved I’ve been spared that indignity” sense. Debtal care is only partly included in our social healthcare. Fillings or removing teeth is covered, anything more complicated is only partly covered.

    Got two rooms painted today (last half hour was running on emergency setting but I didn’t want to stop and clean up just to have to clean up after another half an hour). Floors will be delivered on Wednesday, we’re moving forward!
    And we got a pavilion at a bargain price today. Yay!
    Everything OK.

  87. says

    All is well. I was able to get through this time and leave a message on Aged Mum’s shiny new answering machine, and she called me back. She has a small-company phone service bundled with her cable, and they had an outage.

    I am so getting the caregivers’ numbers before the next time. I’ll still have to figure out who’s on duty, but it’ll still help. It also would have saved time and worry if the caregiver had called me yesterday when Mum couldn’t get through, but I gather Mum didn’t want to inconvenience her. I’m going to have a word with both of them about that, too.

  88. chigau (違う) says

    I just did a couple of hours of darning socks.
    Whilst watching yutub British QuizComedy Shows.
    There were 14 pair socks in that basket!
    All done now.

  89. says

    Good to hear. The son of our soon to finally really be elderly neighbour made sure he has my phone number already

    Do you know the images where a huge dog is still trying to curl up in its human’s lap like when it was a puppy?
    I can do that with kids…

  90. StevoR says

    For any other Aussie readers here in case they don’t know :


    Couple of hours time. ABC 2 9.35 pm :

    (& they have an fb page too.) Yes, that Jane Goodall*; Great (great) Ape Expert and scientist and exemplar of the best in human beings.

    She’s one of a panel of 4 & Q&A can be variable in quality depending on the nights guests, audience and questions but hopefully Goodall will get some great questions and a lot of airtime to answer and explore them in. You can use that link to ask questions for her -- although they hardly ever take them from there almost all coming from the live audience.

    My apologies for the short notice.

    * See : &

  91. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    More milestones, both met and started: The first milestone (met) is that I got the guest room cleaned so that guests can use the bed, without tripping over debris.
    The second (started) was that the Redhead’s sweats (shirt and pants), and tees (long and short sleeved), which occupied the guest bed, are now being recycled into the community, the first time some of her clothing left the premises other than for her funeral. Progress.

  92. says

    Cis people and straight people, in various over and non overlapping constellations, why are they?
    (And yes, I’m aware that I’m mostly straight and pretty cis myself)
    Today we had a special class informing about a project that teaches about LGBTQ issues in school. The group that did our class was three cis gay dudes, which they say is not representative of the whole organisation, but a local coincidence.
    OK, your basic “decent” cis gay dude, very aware of the discrimination (male) gay people still experience in Germany. Also aware that there are trans people, informing my colleagues that yes, there are trans kids. He showed us a bit about what they teach and discuss and then he talked about a trans athlete and that she had to give up her career because when you take hormones the testosterone gets seen as doping and I was like “wait, what?” I mean, why would she need to take testosterone? So I asked “Uhm, we’re talking about a trans man, a he, right?”
    At which point he managed to get the pronouns right.
    And then there was the thing about gay adoption and the studies that show that kids in LGBTQ families are on average happier than their peers, because those families usually only consist of parents who really wanted children and not also of parents who are just biologically capable, at which point another colleague who has a kid as well needed to complain that this wasn’t representative for straight families and unfair to straight families. Yes, I opened my mouth again telling her it’s not about her but the fact that not everybody who manages to make a child is also automatically fit to be a parent.
    Really, why should I be offended by the fact that cis straight families are on average worse than rainbow families?

  93. lumipuna says

    Two unrelated but weirdly similar incidents occurred in Finland during last week:

    Two groups of dudebro tourists (first four German men, then four British men) made brief illegal border crossings to Russia and back just for shits and giggles. They probably only considered they wouldn’t get caught by *Russian* authorities. However, there is extensive video surveillance in the seemingly empty forest on Finnish side, and Finnish authorities can be very conscientious about illegal crossings (We want to be Russia’s favorite neighbors!). Both groups were briefly detained and apparently fined after release.

  94. says

    Two groups of dudebro tourists (first four German men, then four British men) made brief illegal border crossings to Russia and back just for shits and giggles.

    Wouldn’t it be fun if we got caught by an autocratic regime so that then our government would have to bargain for our freedom?
    Men, why are they?

  95. lumipuna says

    Indeed, why are we.

    Some westerners seem to think Russia is so exotic, it’s exciting to even be near to it. If it were really that exciting, I’d consider moving to at least Sweden.

  96. Saad says

    Some of the latest excrement from the fecal fountain that inhabits the White House, this time about the Fucking Wall™:

    “We’re thinking of something that’s unique, we’re talking about the southern border, lots of sun, lots of heat. We’re thinking about building the wall as a solar wall, so it creates energy and pays for itself. And this way, Mexico will have to pay much less money, and that’s good, right?”

    “Solar wall, panels, beautiful. I mean actually think of it, the higher it goes the more valuable it is. Pretty good imagination right? Good? My idea.”

  97. says

    Ahhh, the joys of parenting
    I already told you that the kid has sex ed at the moment.
    One important thing that I have learned so far is that it’s vital to have these conversations both in school and at home. Most days there will be something on her mind that she needs to tell me o talk about. While I’m of course always open for questions, the school sex ed provided us with an opportunity.
    Currently the topic is menstruation and different sanitary products.
    Kid: Do you have pads?
    Me: No, I use mens cups. I can show you.
    I showed her and explained what you do with them and how they work.
    Kid: Cool, can you pack them into a bag so I can take them to school?
    Me: No way, that’s private.
    Kid: But you say this is totally normal and nothing to be ashamed of.
    And now for the fun conversation about why things that spend a lot of time in my vagina should not be taken to school and shown around…

  98. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 141

    I’m sorry to hear that. One would think that the thorns should have at least slowed them down a bit.

  99. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Great way to start the day. Went downstairs to the kitchen to make breakfast (oatmeal), and scared a mouse on the kitchen counter when I flicked on the light and moved toward it, who then scared me (unexpected) when it scrambled off the counter. Traps and peanut butter in the offing.

  100. Ice Swimmer says

    CIA contractors and vending machines:

    Buzzfeed had done a FOIA in 2015 and this is a part of what they got: According to a Office of Inspector General report, a contractor found a simple way to hack the vending machines to accept unfunded payment cards and taught it to others.

    They managed to get about $3300 worth of snacks for free before being caught with surveillance cameras and subsequently turned in their CIA badges and were fired by the companies employing them. The DOJ didn’t press any charges against the contractors even though OIG referred the case to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

  101. chigau (違う) says

    Today we saw a coyote and one of those rainbow circle around the sun things.

  102. rq says

    As of July 1, all GPs in the country are on strike (due to some proposed cuts to healthcare that they say will endanger the lives of thousands (I’d say millions but the population ain’t that large)). The health minister kindly asked all newly-minted residents to help out in the interim, but they pretty much said Fuck You (they’re already mandated to work 240 hrs a month at 3 euros an hour and no, that is not a living situation, the vast majority have second jobs to survive).
    July is the month I’m on vacation and had planned to update all the kids’ health stuff, 95% of which goes through our GP. I guess not anymore.

  103. says

    Kengi has had congestive heart failure and a consequent stroke. He’s stable, and in a rehab facility, but still needs heart surgery, and his recovery will most likely be a long one.

  104. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Piling on with best wishes for a good recovery for Kengi.

  105. Ice Swimmer says

    Connections (Indulging in random trivia):

    Ville Valo singing Valo yössä, orignally by Tuomari Nurmio, who has recorded it at least twice. The second time was with a band that became Agents who went on to become the backing band for Rauli “Badding” Somerjoki. One the best known songs recorded by Badding was this (Paratiisi, paradise, a summery love song) (the band is the same Agents, who went on to have other vocalists, the profile of Agents and especially the guitarist Esa Pulliainen and his baby blue Stratocaster slowly rising over the singers).

    Tuomari Nurmio has also made this song, set in the Kallio neighbourhood and sung in old Helsinki slang*. Also the band Jimsonweed who made this song (Dark Sun, the video is from their comeback gig) was/is closely tied to Kallio and it’s been said that a certain Ville Valo played the bass in the band very briefly.
    * = the title is difficult to translate because of a pun, tonni means both the weight tonne (1000 kg) or one grand ($/£1000), stiflat is slang for boots. The song is about a guy coming back to Kallio (at the time not yet fully gentrified) after a long time, wearing expensive boots. He sees, that things haven’t changed much, the drunks and the misery are still there and no longer feels boastful, lights a cigarette and smiles while wanting to cry.

  106. StevoR says

    Best wishes and hoping for as smooth and speedy a recovery as possible to Kengi from me too.


    Breaking news Germany has legalised equal marriage :

    Surprised its taken them so long -- but then Australia is still trailing by further here so can’t really talk.

    Plus here’s a remarkable palaeontological story about a marvellous discovery and its exasperating, infuriating aftermath :

    As well as this on an Aussie astrobiologist, stromatolite fossils and exoplanet implications :

    Hope folks find these interesting.

  107. says

    @Giliell, yesterday when I came to work, my co-worker was listening to readio and fuming. I asked him what is going on, and he went on a tirade that he is sick of constantly hearing in radio and on TV about gay marriage all the time. How many people does it affect? Tiny ammount, we have bigger fish to fry, there are much more important problems to talk a bout and solve…
    I was ppaled at this statement. I told him and told him that a discrimination that affects tiny portion of populace is stil not right and should be resolved.
    He cut across me and said, “My point exactly, They should just vote yes, let them (homosexuals) marry, let them adopt children. Majority of people is for it, we should be over it by now. I am angry at all those who persist making a problem out of it, when it is not, and trying to dissuade people from simply solving it and moving on to graver societal problems. I resent that church keeps people distracting from big and difficult problems, by making big hallo about small and easily fixed ones.”
    Not an ideal response, but not a bad one either, in a heated discussion. Perhaps the years of me calling out his accultured homophobic and sexist attitudes have had some impact. It gave me a little hope that things can get better. Some day I may even get through his skull that solving problem in law does not equal solving problem altogether, that prejudices still play role.

  108. lumipuna says

    Yay for German marriage equality, just to give back compliments for Finland four months ago :)

  109. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Good that the Germans are getting their act together.

    I’m still waiting for the answer to how the Redhead’s gay cousin marrying his long time partner effected the marriage the Redhead and I had. Don’t worry, I’m not holding my breath for a cogent answer. There isn’t one.

  110. Ice Swimmer says

    Congrats, Germany!

    I attended the Tuska Open Air Metal Festival and will be there tomorrow. Saturday night ended with fireworks after the very fine HIM show. Amorphis, Mokoma, Alabama Kush, Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus, Soilwork and Lost Society did great also.

  111. rq says

    Congrats to Germany. You’re at least a century ahead of Latvia.

    Also interesting: ancient Latvia appears to have been populated only by men, according to current cultural representations of history. Hmm.

  112. says

    Ice Swimmer:

    I attended the Tuska Open Air Metal Festival and will be there tomorrow. Saturday night ended with fireworks after the very fine HIM show.

    I’ll be jealous forever.

  113. says

    Previous year I have built an anaerobic septic tank/sewage-purifier. Ever since then I have trouble passing the final approval. The test results are marginally (about 10-20%) over the allowed criteria for ammonia and sometimes for insoluble organic content as well.

    Hydrologist told me this is not de facto a problem because there is plenty of nature around to take care of these residuals before they can do any harm -- after all, on the field not far from house is a freaking manure heap, and the cows on pasture to do not shit in tubes either -- but the bureau absolutely insists on perfect test result for final approval.

    The project architect has told me essentially that there is nothing that can be done about ammonia, and that every sewage treatment plant has problems with it. I was told to wait at least half a year for the bacteria in the system to reach equilibrium. So I did. But I have made private test before spending 100,-€ on the official one, and it still came out NOK.

    I could of course fake the test, but having a conscience is sometimes counterproductive.
    So I have rigged up additonal charcoal filter that I intend to mount before the outlet and hope it helps. the issue takes away my sleep for long enough, I want it to be over and done with.

  114. Ice Swimmer says

    Charly @ 171

    I’m not qualified or knowledgeable enough to give any advice, but would there still be too much ammonia if the septic tank would get a bit more phosphate? Or, what is the limiting factor that stops the microbes from utilizing the ammonia/converting it into nitrate?

  115. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ah, anaerobic. Meaning reductive digestion, not oxidative digestion. Unfortunately, ammonia is the reductive nitrogen product of the process.
    We had a problem with our preliminary waste treatment where I worked for years, if the tanks went from aerobic to anaerobic, the sulfur present went from non-smelly sulfate to dihydrogen sulfide, which is the odor in rotten eggs. A change from cheap sulfuric acid to more expensive hydrochloric acid for hydrolysis/neutralization made a huge difference.

  116. says

    As far as I am able to remember from the days I was a chemist, phosphate would not help. Phosphate emissions were bellow the limit. Sulphate organic compounds do add a little odour, but that is not a problem from the point of the hydrology bureau, as long as the bilogical and chemical use of oxygen is OK.

    There is a 40 sqm of gravel filter at the end, with planted reed (Phragmites, Typha). This was a reason why I was especially suprised at the failed test, because the phragmites thrives and it should have taken care of virtually everything on its own. The system is scaled for 5 people, and there is only 3 of us.

    Last year when I called the architect and told him “The tests have failed, twice, what now?” he was suprised “What? That can’t be!” (this I see quite often -- people disputing the measuremente results on no other basis than “they must be wrong”, mostly the results are OK and the people are wrong).

  117. Ice Swimmer says

    Going out on another limb: Now, if the suspended organic solids (right?) are sometimes a problem, could it be because the tank may in some situations let the sewage through “raw”, that is, without a sufficient dwell time in the tank (I think it’s called channeling) or when a lot of liquid enters the tank, the slurry on the bottom is disturbed and exits the tank through the outlet? These could also cause high ammonia content (basically, pee channeling through).

    And yes, you don’t convert ammonia to nitrate without oxygen, tired brain and long time from my chemistry courses.

  118. StevoR says

    Man who rowed across the Arctic Ocean tells Google how to do ice! ;-)

    (Serious point or three here though.)

    Something new learnt the other day -- there are cheetahs in Iran -- still. Not many but some -- & they are, of all things, apparently insured :

    A remarkable palaeontological story about a marvellous discovery and its exasperating, infuriating aftermath :

    Science as tragedy?

  119. says

    @Ice Swimmer, tood idea, but I got it too :-). After the first test failed, for the second one I ordered three tests, at three phases of the cleaning system -- directly behind the anaerobic tank, directly behind the reed bed and in the seapage. At each stage the ammonia content decreased significantly, so the system clearly worked. Only it did not work enough. Maybe it really was because it was just a few months old and the bacterial ecosystem needs longer time to reach suitable equilibrium. We shall see. Today I sunk in the additional filter, before the end of the week I will add some 25 kg zeolite to its already containing 10kg of charcoal, and we shall see what comes of it. If that does not pass, then nothing will.

    I may have found the reason for the failed insoluble organic material content -- somehow, I do not know how, wind has managed to blow walnut leafs under the cover of the final reservoir. I will need to take much better care to seal it off in the fall.

  120. StevoR says

    Stumbled across this show whilst channel-surfing the other week -- The Fearless Chef -- Bangladesh :

    Two parts here really pretty amazing & worth watching in my view -- the (top of the!) train journey starting at about the ten minutes mark and the fishing with a team of harnessed otters at the 25 minute mark. Different and interesting -- and respect to the Bangladeshis here.

  121. Hekuni Cat, Social Justice Ninja, MQG says

    Giliell! *pouncehug* Congratulations on your obviously successful home improvement projects.

    Hi Everyone! I’m totally threadrupt and “not dead, just busy” too. I’ve missed you all.

    C, *gentle hug* I hope your pain levels are reduced in the very near future.

  122. Ogvorbis: A bear of very little brains. says

    Hi. Still around. Slowly mending.n Still not back to work. Back pain is minimal. Hip pain moderate. Large numb area on my lower back and down to my hip. Waiting for OWCP to approve an MRI so we can see which nerve is being pinched. It has now been one month. I keep having nightmares about what could have happened (seriously — if I had been knocked unconscious I would most likely have drownedm , if I had landed a few inches further to the left I would have, most likely, severed my spinal cord and, with no working legs, probably would have drowned (I have no idea how I will react the next time I am down there (come September) working with a school group)).

    Anyway, hi, all.

  123. says


    I keep having nightmares about what could have happened

    I’m not surprised. You’re trying to instill a healthy amount of paranoia about falling in yourself, but it could easily go too far. How did it happen in the first place?

  124. Ogvorbis: A bear of very little brains. says

    How did it happen in the first place?

    I was taking water samples for a 4th grade curriculum-based program. I tossed the seine net into the river and rope got tangled with the net. So I pulled it back out. And tossed again. And realized I had failed to resecure the rope on the fence pole. So the rope fell onto a sloped shrubby piece of ground just off to the side and began to slither off into the river as the seine net was pulled downstream by the current. So I went over the fence, bent down to pick up the rope, lost my footing, fell down the slope and over a ten-foot concrete wall onto rocks at the edge of the river. I damn near killed myself trying to save a seine net that costs about $50.00 and there was a second one, a spare one, in the wagon. Just me not thinking.

  125. says

    Ouch. It’s when the body is faster than the rest of the brain.
    Wishing you a continued recovery.

    Hekuni Cat!
    *pouncehug* right back!

    Let’s call it a day!
    Flooring in another room done. You could call it a metaphor for modern life to put fake wooden decor PVC flooring on a real wooden floor, but I don’t have the time and nerves and skills to redo the floor boards.
    Then we went for the first big Ikea shopping trip. Yay for good planning.

  126. says


    I damn near killed myself trying to save a seine net that costs about $50.00 and there was a second one, a spare one, in the wagon.

    Right, so you’re busy you’re kicking yourself over it, but you have to remember that you were probably just doing what you’ve long been trained to do, not waste equipment or money, something every employer expects, yours perhaps more than others.

    Yeah, it was one of those things done without thinking, but we all do that, zillions of times over and over, and most of the time, we come out alright. Things didn’t go well this time, but in the end, you came out alive, you are still with those you love, and you can still walk, so that’s all pretty positive. You have to give that equal time in your head. I know it’s hard, and it’s gonna take time.

    Long days ago, I was making my way home from Newport Beach, and road construction was such that no pedestrians were allowed for a long stretch, so I stuck out my thumb. I didn’t like the look of the guy who pulled over, but it was a short distance by car, and I explained before I got in. That was one of the stupidest fucking things I ever did in my life. When we got to the intersection where I had wanted to get out, the light was green, and he floored it, right onto a freeway. I knew where it headed. He was happy to inform me anyway, and his plans for me when we got there. I opened the car door, turned sideways, looked back to see the speed (over 60mph), and he had an arm stretched out, with a knife at my neck, grinning at me. Well, I went out of the car. When I came to a stop, I got up and started walking away. I was hurt, considerably, but that didn’t dawn on me for a while. Sometimes, you just have to be grateful you didn’t manage to kill your stupid self.

  127. says

    I have always found arbitrary dresscodes to be stupid so this is to me just another sign of human stupidity. Men must dress like penguins and women in burkas. Oops, sorry, my mistake. Men must dress like penguins and women must be dressed for the male gaze, but they must not show more skin than /insert arbitrary rule here/ at the same time.

  128. Ogvorbis: A bear of very little brains. says

    Thanks for the support.

    Caine, that is terrifying. Hugs to you.

    Right now, I am in a never-ending loop. My pain management doctor wants an MRI to see which nerve is being pinched. The referral has been approved by my insurance company which is not actually the one who will be paying the bill — it is worker’s comp. So the Pain Clinic sent off a request for an authorization. And sent the authorization from my insurance company. And when I called them to ask that they send the worker’s comp authorization, they resent my insurance company’s authorization. Even though they say that they have the authorization from worker’s comp. So I’m not sure if worker’s comp has authorized the MRI or not. So the pain clinic sent, once again, the authorization from my insurance company. Aaaaargh!

    Boy’s fiance is now living at our house. Moving her out of her parents house was not fun. Cops, physical assault, accusations. No one hurt. My family remained calm, cool and collected while her parents lost their shit. They claim to have full custody until she is 21. The cops, when they heard that, just said, very calmly, that she is an adult and can move wherever she wants to with whoever she wants. No charges filed, but I have a feeling it ain’t over. Spent last night (the whole night) on the porch smoking cigars so I could keep an eye open. Fucking uneducated Native-American wannabe idiots.

  129. Ogvorbis: A bear of very little brains. says

    Aaaaaaaaaand I just roasted a sweet red pepper with the grocery store label still attached. Farmers market opens Monday.

  130. chigau (違う) says

    Best wishes for getting your MRI sorted and Boy’s fiance settled.
    Scrape off, the label. The pepper will be fine.

  131. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ogvorbis, you reminded me that that Redhead lived with my parents for a few weeks before we were married. But her parents had moved to South Carolina, as her father changed jobs mid-life (from chemist to art teacher). Be as supportive as you can.
    Sometimes, small things matter. Recently, I stopped just moving the newspapers to the recycle bin, and started cutting out the puzzles, and started working them (slowly). Later, cleaned up the front room enough so I could put up a card table. Then I had a place to actually read the morning newspapers while I ate breakfast. Then had to toss out two chairs with problems, and buy one that worked so I could both have more space, and the chair was adjustable and could be used for both breakfast/newspapers and the old iMac on another table. (Sometimes OS upgrades take out old working programs. I’ve still got my highly upgraded still working Mac G4 Cube if needed.
    The puzzles came in handy as I had an angiogram, and needed a few day without exertion. I’m fine, some meds and diet change (low fats vs low carbs) should keep me healthy for while.
    Get better Ogvorbis.

  132. says

    If it’S any consolation, Mr’s uncle shattered his knee to pieces, and since he steadfastly refuses to tell how that happened, my money is on “something bloody stupid”.
    Hope things go well with boy’s fiance.

    Hehe, reminds that my grandparents were actually criminals when they allowed my father to stay overnight with my back then unmarried and underage (18) mother. Because apparently “letting the dude get your daughter pregnant because then you can marry her off” was a thing.

    Got #1’s birthday party part 1 (family and assorted adults) done yesterday, thankfully without the heavy rains we got tonight. I love, love, love being finally able to invite guests and host parties.
    I also got the flooring done in all rooms except one which is currently the tool shop.

  133. says


    I love, love, love being finally able to invite guests and host parties.

    Oh, that has to be so nice! A good reward for all your hard work.

  134. says

    Today was the monthly visit to Aged Mum’s for groceries, banking and filing. Emily, who has been visiting for a week, came along and showed Mum a bunch of her photos on her iPad (E’s, not Mum’s).

    I’m worried about Mum. She’s getting more and more detached from reality, her hearing is going, she doesn’t speak clearly most of the time, and she’s barely able to push a pen on paper hard enough to sign her name. We’re going to have to set up a power of attorney for her soon, and I am not looking forward to making her do that. At least Paul knows about powers of attorney, as he had to do one for his mother. But I did succeed in scanning and emailing a document for Mum after we got home, so that’s good. Take that, printer that drops off the internet!

    Hugs to all.

  135. says


    I’m worried about Mum. She’s getting more and more detached from reality, her hearing is going, she doesn’t speak clearly most of the time, and she’s barely able to push a pen on paper hard enough to sign her name.

    Aging is a bad business, to be sure. Not all that thrilled with the ride down myself. Caregiving is such a tough job, you taking time for self care, too?

  136. says

    Fortunately, we finally got a couple of caregivers who can be trusted, so I just visit rather than trying to care for her full time. I also make sure her bills get paid, and do her banking, and talk to her every other day, and worry about her nonstop.

    I probably worry and guilt myself too much, but that’s how I was raised, and at my age, I don’t think I can change.

  137. StevoR says

    When it comes to identifying Australian native plants this site is excellent :

    Especially the compare function there.

    Climatologist Ben Santer speaks truth powerfully here :

    Via Ed Brayton’s blog.

    Oh & Juno is about to get the closest look ever at Jove’s Great Red Spot today :

    as Phil Plait explains really well with some stunning images here.

  138. says

    Passing through the front rooms, I notice Rick looking at stuff.

    Me: What are you looking for?

    Rick: Motivation.


  139. Saad says

    I must have missed this from Sam Harris earlier this year:

    In language eerily reminiscent of the rhetoric of the fascist far right, New Atheist pundit Sam Harris has called for reducing the number of Muslims in society, warning on the January episode of his popular podcast, “You can’t have too many Muslims in your culture if you want it to remain enlightened.”

    On the podcast, Harris echoed anti-refugee talking points and proposed figuring “out some way to keep the number of Muslims down in any society, whether we’re honest about this or whether we do this covertly. Clearly it’s rational to want to do this.”

    “I think many people will feel, what is the f**king point of having more Muslims in your society?” he added. “It seems perfectly rational to say, we don’t want any more.”

    Of course we haven’t read the full context of those quotations, so let’s take it easy before bullying him with a witch hunt.

    Also, he states twice that persecuting Muslims is the rational thing to do. Therefore, it can’t be wrong. He said it’s rational.

  140. rq says

    Can’t out-rational the rationalists, I guess, though I know who I’d ration in society, and it ain’t the Muslims. *hugs* if at all appropriate at this time.

    So I’m to expect a young super-socializing young adult at the end of the month, too? Great.
    (Congrats on the house and the Geburtstag!)

    I always have spare tea for you, should you need it.

  141. says

    To be honest, I’m super happy for her. She’s mildly autistic and friendships don’t come easy for her, though things have improved a lot already.

    Think about it like this: they have probably already lived with you for the longest time before they leave for college.

  142. StevoR says

    Via Jim Wright’s facebook page :

    Shawn Riley‎ to Stonekettle Station
    5 hrs ·
    Shawn Riley here, Stonekettle Station backup admin.

    Jim has been put into Facebook jail again. His personal account has been locked out because one of his posts was targeted by Trump supporters and Right Wing trolls. The post in question was from several days ago, Facebook as taken it down for violation of community standards (it, of course, didn’t violate community standards in any form. The usual. You know).

    Jim is irritated but amused. Whenever this happens, it only goes to prove what he’s been saying about these small minded haters. Also, he usually ends up gaining a bunch of new readers in the process.

    Jim wouldn’t mind if you rallied the flying monkey and barraged Facebook’s support desk with messages to get his account and posts restored. If you don’t know how to do that, somebody will be able to explain here in the comments.

    That was five hours ago from now.

    See also :

  143. says

    Hi folks
    Still working my ass off. First batch of furniture has arrived and even though I actually like putting it together, it’s a hell lot of work.
    Also, I have discovered the redstart’s nest. Unfortunately, it’s under our roof. This would not be a problem if not for the fact that in a few weeks the plasterer will come and put up the insulation, effectively shutting off all entrances. I think the young ones will be gone by then. I’ll have to watch and try to take out the nest before they try for a third brood.

  144. StevoR says

    I’ve always found black cats lucky myself -- certainly the one’s (a few over the decades) lucky enough to own me have been lucky and here’s another one :

    But who would’ve guessed that vodka could bean antidote?

    Vale brilliant Iranian mathematican and first and, so far, only woman to win the prestigious Fields Medal in mathematics, Maryam Mirzakhani :

    Also beautiful time lapse video here :

    Via Phil Plait, of the Bad Astronomy blog.

  145. says

    @Giliell, is it feasible to make a nesting box for the redstarts? They might return to the location next year and they are lovely birds to have in the garden.

  146. StevoR says

    Oh and I am ashamed to say this is happening not in but because of my country to people who least deserve it :

    A guards story. He suffers badly. Those he is guarding suffer worse -and why?

    Because they want to flee horror and atrocities. Because they want themselves and their kids to have better lives.

    Since when have those things been crimes? Oh yeah, here since Howard of the “children (NOT!) overboard” and Tampa.

    Flippin’ Fraser (of barely remembered memory) was so much better back in the days of the Vietnam war -- and the refugees who fled that “ancient” conflict. Can this 21st century PM Malcolm be worse?

  147. says

    They will get a nesting box for next year. Or two or three.

    We were talking about damn stupid things we did, right?
    Today I managed to hit the main power line of the house with the drill. I was very aware where all our shiny new individual power lines are, but the big fellow?
    Of course I couldn’t just have made that hole 1 or 2 cm to either side, right?

  148. says

    I spent a bit of time outside in the deathly heat, talking to our young lady (the lost wild turkey), to get her more used to my presence; she seems to have adopted our place as her own.

    It’s about killing me, seeing the desperation all around. I’ve placed a sprinkler out, on low, just dragging it here and there every day, the property is much too large to get water to everything, and everything is torch dry and dying in stages. Tiny baby sparrows, launch themselves out of the trees, landing hard, just so they can get a drink of water. They can’t fly, and it’s damn near certain death for them to be on the ground, but…

  149. says

    That’S too sad.
    We’ve had some good rain here, but once the sun is out it gets dry fast. The plants are still all lush, but this evening, as soon as I took out the hose and had a wet hand, a butterfly landed on my hand to drink.

  150. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Caine, too bad I can’t send you the excess water in our area. Parts of Lake County, IL, had 7″ (almost 18 cm for the civilized world) of rain earlier this month, and we still have road closures from the resulting flooding.
    As a side note, the roma tomatoes are starting to ripen. Maybe by the weekend I can start picking fresh tomatoes for my salads.
    The cherry tomatoes are still green, but there is a good crop.

  151. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Dang, just a the last of road closures lifted, and a big storm is headed our way. My basement just appeared to have dried up too (temporarily i guess).

  152. StevoR says

    Well, this is a classic funny response to those whinging about Whittaker’s new Who :

    Via the Aussie SBS (Viceland channel) Feed show which actually has some really stuff.

    As a lifelong Whovian who is quite happy the new Doctor is a woman & looking forward to seeing her different take on a childhood classic SF favourite.

  153. says

    Weather, eh?
    We had a week of wonderful sunshine but today, when #1 was having her garden party, the day started with heavy rain with thunderstorms being forecast for the whole day. At 2 pm the world was kind of ending. Then it cleared up and we had a wonderful sunny afternoon and evening with cake and grilled hamburgers.

  154. Ice Swimmer says

    Weather, it’s been changing rapidly lately. Usually rain in the morning midday and early afternoon, then sunny, possibly a few showers. Had a nice evening at Teurastamo listening to live music, no showers tonight.

  155. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yesterday I called ElderCare about being a volunteer driver, taking fellow senior citizens to their doctors. There’s a volunteer orientation on Saturday, which helped prompt my call. Should be interesting.

  156. says

    The weather here was almost absurdly good last few weeks. After the drought of a few weeks we now had about the right amount of rain every few days, interspersed with warm, sunny weather. Everything is growing like mad. If nothing bad happens- that is, if the weather holds its course till August -I might have generous harvest. Zucchinis grow by pounds each day, and the beans would be much more promising if it were not for the damn invasive spanish slugs. And blackberries! And figs! I hope it will go well, I like fresh figs.

    Today I had a visit from the water testing laboratory, to have another shot at the final inspection of my sewage cleaner. If it will fail again, I do not know what to do. One of the reasons I was adamant on this kind of sewage cleaning was that I thus have suitably clean water even through bouts of drought. I collect a lot of rain water, but that I save for watering pot plants and bonsai trees, which are more sensitive to salt contents and similar. And the walnut tree near the seapage seems to thrive on having enough water in all weather -- I might have so many walnuts that I will not know what to do with them -- we did not eat those from previous two years yet, and that is with generous giveaways. Without the water cleaning I could get into trouble with such a big garden during a drought spell.

  157. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Just met some clueless people who try to sell stuff. Coming down the stairs, I heard the doorbell ring. Looked out, two people outside. Trying to sell window upgrades. Couldn’t seem to understand, since I didn’t call them, go away. Finally I got even ruder.
    Don’t say anything more folks, just turn and go next door….Only that is polite on their part….

  158. rq says

    Mmm, fiiigs! I wish!
    And if you do get any good ideas about the walnuts, let me know -- we have an excess, too (though I’m unsure about this year, looks pretty weak so far).


    So I was watching The Handmaid’s Tale last night, and night before last (it’s a one-at-a-time kind of show). It’s one thing to read the book; quite another to see a visual interpretation, no matter how well done. The first episode was hard, but if you think about it as a historical drama (difficult to maintain), it’s a bit easier for
    a while (but then, I am only two episodes in). I do suspect the series will have a positive-ish, less ambiguous ending. Won’t come in season 1, though.

  159. says

    A couple of idiots at Pharyngula are yakking about how Scarlett O’Hara (Gone With The Wind) is really a feminist hero, and the book was a great feminist odyssey, really truly! Fuck, I wish men would shut up about feminism. Well, some of them anyway.

  160. says

    Knowing when to speak and when to shut up is possibly the most difficult kraft to master. One of my colleagues has a rather poignant sign in his office “Wenn man keine Ahnung hat, einfach mal die Fresse halten!”. Roughly translated “If you have no clue, then simply shut your trap!”.

  161. rq says

    Scarlet O’Hara, feminist hero? I’ve heard that one before, but it did not end well. :/

  162. says

    I can hardly imagine a worse feminist icon than O’Hara, a sociopathic asshole to the core. She’s the kind of character that embodies every bad characteristic a person could have. The kind of character that shores up misogynistic attitudes and provides justification for them, too.

  163. says


    “Wenn man keine Ahnung hat, einfach mal die Fresse halten!”

    I think we deserve some of the reputation for being, you know, rude.
    If have a surplus of walnuts I might know somebody who quote likes them.

    Re: Weather
    We had sun and rain as well, only that the rain tends to come in thunderstorms. I din’t think the grain farmers are happy.
    Did I tell y’all that a thunderstorm damaged our caravan? Thankfully we’Re insured and thankfully the expert the insurance hired to estimate the damage really over-estimated the undamaged value of the caravan, which means we’re getting some windfall money which we can use well right now.

    I will admit that I only ever partially witnessed the gone with the wind frenzy, but wasn’t she like, you know, a slave owner?

  164. says


    I will admit that I only ever partially witnessed the gone with the wind frenzy, but wasn’t she like, you know, a slave owner?

    Yes. And the only thing she gave a shit about was her decaying family mansion/plantation and her decaying lifestyle.

  165. says

    And the only thing she gave a shit about was her decaying family mansion/plantation and her decaying lifestyle.

    Poor little diddums.
    You know, I love costumes and construction. I know how a crioline and matching dress are made. People swoon at them when they see them in movies, but they have no fucking clue how much time and expensive fabric it takes to make one. That whole Southern Glory™ is nothing but an obscene display of wealth gained on the backs of slaves.

    BTW, one empty redstart nest successfully removed.

  166. says


    You know, I love costumes and construction. I know how a crioline and matching dress are made. People swoon at them when they see them in movies, but they have no fucking clue how much time and expensive fabric it takes to make one. That whole Southern Glory™ is nothing but an obscene display of wealth gained on the backs of slaves.

    Hell yes. One of the most famous scenes (and one Carol Burnett parodied beautifully) is about how Miss Scarlett doesn’t have all her wonderful clothes anymore, boo hoo, but she has an opportunity to predate on some poor sucker, but she needs to look like what she truly is, a wealthy Southern Belle. She turns this way, turns that way, spots the massive velvet curtains, yells at her slaves to pull them down and make a magnificent fuckin’ dress, she needs to get to town the next day. Uh huh.

  167. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So far, my tomato experiment is not very successful. My first fruit of the roma’s had blossom rot, where the bottom of the fruit turns black. According the the almighty search engine, probably due to lack of sufficient divalent cations (calcium and magnesium) in the soil. Since the plants are still going great, added some calcium today (calcium carbonate pills dissolved in vinegar) and magnesium (Epsom salts) tomorrow. Still seeing new blossoms, so I may get good fruit by the end of the season.
    And I learned a lesson for next year.

  168. blf says

    Roughly a year ago, I lost my job. Tonight I happened to run into an old colleague of mine, who — along with the entire team he was a member of (and a team who I worked closely with) — also subsequently lost their jobs. That team was apparently then hired en masse by a different company. However, they lack some needed expertise, including that which I have; in fact, apparently, they have discussed that I would be a good person to have / hire, as recently as last month. (Their current plan, apparently, is to contract out to an expensive consultant for a limited time.)

    Naturally, I jumped all over this, as it seems like a great opportunity to resume working locally. Nothing much will happen for a few weeks — July / August in France is vacation season — but it does seem like I might have a very good inside track… I know these people, they know me, I’m available and local, and the expertise is a good match.

    I need to do some mundane things like update my résumé, and also some reading up on various subjects / technologies I’m either not up-to-date on or not too familiar with, but there is nothing(?) completely “alien” here…

    Of course, I also need to get back into the habit of working for someone… I’ve rather enjoyed doing bugger-all for a year-ish, with no monetary concerns (thanks to a good lawyer and French laws). And there is the “issue” I’m expensive and within sight of retirement, but this possibility may be immune-ish to those (technically illegal) concerns.

  169. blf says

    [M]y tomato experiment is not very successful.

    You should perhaps talk with the organic stall I patronise every week. They seem to have a tomato fetish, offering quite a number of varieties of tomatoes; so much such so I’m just starting to get a bit tired of fresh ripe tomato-and-stuff salads, and more generally, fresh tasty tomatoes-with-everything (mostly tomatoes). Think mildly deranged penguin and cheese, then bump up by a few orders of magnitude…

  170. says

    Last night I watched the Tour de France telecast and the womens race was on. Listening to the condescending male presenter was teeth grating stuff. These were elite athletes not just a bunch of “girls” twiddling around in the shadows of the Big Male Heroes. Grrrr. I hope the television station gets rapped for letting the nitwit on, but I doubt it will come to much.

  171. says

    *waves* Too hot, too busy, too tired.

    I read GWTW in, I think, high school (when dinosaurs walked the earth, etc etc), saw the movie on TV. Once was enough for both. I actually attempted a reread a few years ago out of idle curiosity, and I just couldn’t. She’s not a feminist, she’s a user.

  172. chigau (違う) says

    Hi there!
    We came in early because strong COLD wind off the ocean and ground-hugging fog.
    I can internet until the crowd get off work.

  173. Ice Swimmer says

    blf @ 242

    The best of luck for you! Hoping the employer prioritizes getting shit done properly over penny-pinching and so will hire you!

  174. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Blf, I feel your pain. I was “retired” early. But the severance package kept me quiet, as I needed health insurance for the Redhead. Hang in there, and I might give the MDP what’s left in the cheese compartment of my fridge since my cardiologist put me on a “Mediterranean” diet. Sigh.

  175. cicely says

    *many hugs back*, rq! I hope you, and the Whole Gang, are well.
    My Trump-loving nephew has finally stopped gloating all over Facebook—has gone silent, in fact! So Much Rejoicing!
    I think that he is finally seeing the pig that was concealed in that poke.

  176. blf says

    I was dimly aware there were some wildfires in this general area of France, but until I glanced through the local paper this morning, hadn’t realised (1) By recent standards it’s exceptional — over the last ten-ish years, the annual total size of all wildfires has ranged from slightly less than one hundred (100) hectare (ha) to just over one thousand (1000) ha each year. This year, to-date, it’s over 3000 ha. And (2) France has asked its EU partners for the loan of some additional Canadair water bombers (ten French Canadairs are already committed).

    So far this week it’s hot (≥ 30℃) with strong winds (the Mistral) of up to c.70kph. which clearly isn’t helping.

    (France24 report: Firefighters continue to battle raging blazes in southern France (English).)

    I’m safe — nowhere near the current fires — the local problem today being some eejit is drilling / chiseling out holes in a stone / concrete wall nearby: This is FECKING LOUD and perfectly positioned so those 70kph wind gusts are blowing the resulting fine dust right past the main entrance to the lair… and, to some extent, probably, into the lair…

  177. blf says

    Apropos of nothing much, essentially immediately after posting the previous comment(@256) I started feeling seriously unwell, mostly an extremely upset stomach. Laid down for awhile then resorted to taking medicine whilst whatever I’d ingested was deciding how to exit: Via the intake, the exhausts, or by exploding, dissolving, or eating its way out. (It eventually decided on the intake, mostly.)

    I’d had a slightly upset stomach just before lunch, so suspected something I’d ate at breakfast: Cheese with melon, yogurt, and apple juice. Whilst the obvious-seeming suspect, the yogurt very probably wasn’t the villain (freshly bought from a reliable store, properly stored, and nothing at all odd when I opened / ate it). The cheese? Maybe, but like the yogurt, no real reason to suspect it, other then the lack of penguin footprints. The melon? Possibly, it was overripe and slightly elderly, with a damaged region (which I’d carefully cut away and discarded).

    Which leaves the apple juice. A definite possibly, it was fresh stuff of the “drink within two days of opening” type; I had opened it at least a week ago… And it didn’t taste terribly fresh when I drank it, albeit there was no strange smell or other hint it’s bad (except the penguin feather).

    As a precaution, I’ve tossed out the remaining melon. (I’d drank all the apple juice or it’d be tossed as well.) When doing so, I discovered some previously-fresh cherries I’d forgotten about so long that they’d progressed to the point of primitive locomotive engines…

    And the Mistral winds are still blowing, albeit I believe they are forecast to calm down today-ish… And, sofar this morning, the eejit with the concrete hammerdrillnoisetorturemachine isn’t around.

  178. blf says

    And there’s a new fire which broke out last night causing the evacuation of c.10,000 people; total area is now around 4000 ha. Winds seem to still be strongly gusting.

    I’m still safe — nearest fire known to me is multiple tens of kilometres away — and am now about to try and eat for the first-ish time in about 24h. The hammerdrillnoisetorturemachine showed up, fortunately, so far. very briefly…

  179. StevoR says

    Sad news sorry, the world is worse off for the loss of Dr G Yunupingu :

    Of Yothu Yindi and other fame :

    WARNING : Australian First peoples are warned that the linked clip contains the images and voices of people who have since passed.

    They have (some of them) now gone but their music and messages live on and is still been heard.

    Also Vale Stephen Gadlabarti Goldsmith, a Kaurna and Narungga champion and from all I’ve heard and read, great bloke.

    (Presume the ABC is being culturally sensitive and just in its coverage here, apologies if not. Huge respect from me.)

  180. Saad says

    The racist orange sexual assaulter announces ban on transgender people in the military

    The rapist’s tweets:

    After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow……

    ….Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming…..

    ….victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you

  181. blf says

    Re @260, rather embarrassingly, it didn’t, at first, click with me when I saw the news of Dr G Yunupingu’s tragic death that he was a crucial member of Yothu Yindi. Oops.

    I saw Yothu Yindi live around the time of the “Tribal Voice” album, which featured the powerful song Treaty. That song (which I suggest playing with the volume set to 11) is about the continuing (to this day, as far as I know) lack of a treaty between the Australian First Nations — who’ve lived there for multiple tens of thousands of years — and the comparatively extremely recent invaders from Europe.


    Vaguely related, Ozland is “solving” the problem of the concentration camp on Manus Island by forcing the refugees out, then threatening to have the arrested, Manus Island closure: refugees forced out of compound and threatened with arrest: “Refugees and asylum seekers have been forced out of one of the largest compounds of the Manus Island immigration detention centre and threatened with arrest as part of the rolling closure of the facility.”

  182. blf says

    The Mistral winds here in southern France have, as predicted, died down. (It is also, at the moment, locally, a bit cooler.) All of which can only help the exhausted firefighters. As far as I am currently aware, no new major fires have broken out, albeit apparently at least one did reignite. The entire area is still considered to at a very high risk, and I believe most of the evacuated people (now said to around 12,000) remained evacuated.

    Amazingly, to-date, no-one is known to have been killed. (I have no idea if anyone is considered missing.) Several firefighters have been injured.

    Some news reports are saying several aircraft in France’s fleet of fire-fighting aircraft are over 60 years old and in desperate need of replacement; and the several others(?) are grounded due to a lack of spare parts. Via the EU (not sure of the exact details), fire-fighting aircraft can be borrowed from other countries; Italy has provided some to help.

  183. StevoR says

    Jim Wright is spot on as usual here :

    Right now, those charged with implementing this policy have no direction at all, none, other than a couple of tweets.

    Think about how utterly bizarre that is.

    Think about all the hundreds of thousands of people this affects, whether it be directly because they are transgender or indirectly because they are the military and civilian personnel charged with implementing policy, or the officers charged with overseeing it, or the JAGs charged with military law, or the personnel managers, the accountants. What about the benefits people at Veterans Affairs? Because even if you throw them out, trans veterans are still veterans, they’re still entitled to benefits – unless they’re not. How do you know without more direction than a couple of tweets?

    Plus so much more.

    Source :

  184. StevoR says

    @264. blf :I remember and love that powerful ‘Treaty’ song among others.

    The Australian governments treatment of the refugee ever since the Howard era has been a national disgrace and a tragedy and is utterly inhumane and wrong. We should process them here and with respect and dignity and kindness like we did back in the days of the Vietnamese boatpeople* Like the USA; Australia is a nation composed of migrants (with a sadly too small percentage of remaining, surviving Indigenous Aussies aside.) so when did we become so scared of them? (Okay there’ve been previous anti-Chinese etc ..riots in Australian history and teh White Australaipolicy and yeah, other past shames and horrors. But still.)

    A recent article here :

    Notes :

    In a letter to the Australian government signed by 586 of the centre’s 800-odd residents, the detainees gave their captors a deadline to find a safe country in which they can settle.

    “You gave us 159 days count down … that we have to leave this place … We give you 159 days just like you have given us!

    “In this 159 days you can find a safe country for us and send us out … from this detention prison hell or we are not moving anywhere.

    “We are not going to fight and we are not going to cause any unrest … You have the army, the police … bring them here and we will line up so you can shoot us to end our misery if you want to force us out.”

    The centre is due to close by November following the 2016 Papua New Guinea supreme court ruling that Australia’s offshore detention facility is illegal.

    The situation with the fires in France is awful and as someone who faces the threat of bushfires here, they have my sympathies. Glad so far no one has died although the losses are considerable and awful.

    * As an old Guen Transfer pitch went “They are not boat people, they are people”Which of course they are -- and we should treat them that way and as individuals and as we’d like to be treated by others.

  185. says

    I think I have not mentioned this before, so I am mentioning it now.

    I hate mixing concrete. I ache all over.

    I wanted to send some pictures, but it will have to wait.

  186. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin suggests mixing concrete by carefully trapping a pea, tossing it into the mix, and running away really, really fast. The pea will quickly go all Keyser Söze on the mix, not only mixing it really well but coating everything in the area to a radius of several kilometres with a surprisingly even and amazingly thick layer of concrete. The volume of concrete flung out is considerably greater than the volume shoveled in, a discrepancy explained by observing everything in those kilometres, and for several more besides, are now suspiciously small piles of rubble.

    Proper cowboy builders use this fact by starting with a few grams of mix and charging you for several weeks work and tonnes of concrete. The pea — usually charged as either “catering” or “cratering” — needs only a few milliseconds, obviously.

  187. says

    Anyone want a slightly used husband? He’s really outdone himself this time.

    Last night he referred to women in their mid-twenties as “girls” and was Not Pleased when I corrected him. And he constantly talked over me, all weekend. This morning he had a shirt to add to the dirty laundry; I said “put it in the basket”, meaning the one on the floor full of appropriate dirty clothes. He decided I really meant “washer”. Which was almost done, so when I opened the washer, I found his mostly dry dirty t-shirt mixed in with the clean wet underwear.

    The worst, though, was finding a lighter in the dryer with the dry clothes. An almost full lighter, which he’d left in a pants pocket. We were damn lucky it didn’t start a fire. He just laughed. I’m about ready to clobber him one.

  188. says

    I aten dead, but I might kill someone.
    Anne, I’m with you.
    My FIL is the perfect mix of 60something cis het white dude combined with cis het white dude working class anti “elite” mindset, and for the last50 years or so his family has tiptoed around his damn stubbornness.
    They all just give in. They vent and complain, but to others.
    Since Saturday he wants to put in the new doors.
    1. It’s really not the right time.
    2. He sucks at it.
    He put in two. One we need to take out again completely, because instructions and carefulness are for losers and one the other one the handle is all askew.
    But that is not the worst.
    The thing that really makes me angry is Mr constantly avoiding the conflict and dumping it on me.
    Would you believe that he tried that “oh I just don’t know what to say and you’re so much better than me at these things” bullshit with me?
    I told him in no uncertain terms that this shit doesn’t work with me and that he needs to grow a fucking spine.
    No wonder his father never outgrew the sulking toddler stadium if nobody ever stood up to his tantrums.

  189. says

    I’ll join you both. Rick’s been in passive aggressive asshole mode the last couple of weeks. Ready to toss him out a fuckin’ window.

  190. says

    Pillow fort, tea, and cookies are available for Giliell, Caine, and anyone else who is ready to smite their nearest and dearest today. If anyone wants me, I’m in the farthest deepest corner, surrounded by snarling tigers, that is, cuddling Hobbes.

  191. rq says

    Is it just the husbands or spouses in general?
    I had three (3!!) different conversations about the sorry state of the trampoline out in the country: it’s a deathtrap but Husband (and everyone else!) seems to be perfectly fine with that, even though it’s pretty much exclusively our kids spending time on it at this point in time. (Back in spring, I asked that it not be put up at all, but alas, Husband remembers not this conversation! To be fair, due to the familially communal nature of the country property, he may not have participated in or known about assembling it until it was already done.)
    I was not fine with that, but he had a conversation with his younger brother about taking it down for the season with the grudging ‘I don’t agree with you but fine if it’s so important to you’ tone of voice. Apparently I’m just worrying too much about things that would never happen. Mmhm. Thanks. Great support. I’m already the funkiller in that family, though, so no big loss.

  192. says

    It’s dripping outside. Yay, except that it’s already 72° at 6:30 am and we are driving to La Jolla this morning. It’s Elder Daughter moving day!

    rq, argh! I get so tired of being the mean old grown-up for the whole family, don’t you? Of course if something does go wrong, that’s our fault too.

    Tea will be ready shortly. Although it was nearly steeped hot water -- I poured the water into the mug and then noticed I hadn’t put a teabag in. Good thing I have a glass mug.

  193. blf says

    Tea will be ready shortly. Although it was nearly steeped hot water — I poured the water into the mug and then noticed I hadn’t put a teabag in.

    Yesterday I happened to get up at some absurd hour — the Sun was up, albeit barely — and decided to make some tea for the first time in a week or three. At first, couldn’t find the usual mug, then located it. Fortunately (for me), I happened to look inside before doing anything, and found a thriving civilisation. The green-and-blue life forms appeared to have recently discovered the wheel (they clearly already had slood).

    So instead of heated for tea, the water was boiled for genocide. Several times. Along with some nasty chemicals just to make sure. (The mildly deranged penguin suggested the nuke-from-orbit thing, but I pointed out that would overcook the eggs, so she grudgingly agreed not to, this time.)

  194. blf says

    chigau, Nothing much happened. The Sun did get eaten by what They say was a giant ant — the mildly deranged penguin says it was probably a confused anteater — which is a bit awkward as the temporary replacement only has a simple wind-up mechanism and cannot do the scheduled upcoming total eclipse, so They are having to build and fit the replacement in a hurry. It also messes up the spaghetti harvest.

  195. says

    After an exceptionally dry June, winter has graced us with her presence. July rainfall totals here were 244mm. Less so in the grain growing districts but certainly enough to make Chez Lofty look green and soggy. Not particularly cold though and some parts of the country have had record high temperatures in July. I dread the coming summer already.

  196. says

    Blf, are you familiar with eau de javel?
    My go to for ” btw mum, here’s the lunchbox you’ve been looking for for the last week. Still with the original sandwiches.”

    Today Mr almost got murdered by my dad. I think I would have offered a choice of weapons…

  197. blf says

    Giliell@283, I tend to avoid the stuff as the mildly deranged penguin thinks it’s a liqueur to be used in mixed drinks. (Amazingly, not always involving cheese.)

    Cleaning up penguin-ejecta is foul, also perhaps fowl, especially as frequently finding foul fowl fragments fixed furlongs far from firesides familiar with her little ways is time-consuming with lots of merde !

    She, on the other hand, tends to think the mixed-drink was Ok buts needs some fine-tuning, as there weren’t enough volcanic eruptions (of the geological type), and it tends to overpower the cheese. Also, apparently, doesn’t go well with duck; on this last point, the ducks seem to agree.

  198. StevoR says

    Apparently its not just the Emma Lazarus New Colossus poem (sonnet specifically) part of the history of Lady Liberty that the Repubs don’t know, understand or appreciate. First I’ve read of this was when when this came up online in a notification thingammy although it does date back to Nov. 2015 :

    A little-known fact about Lady Liberty adds an intriguing twist to today’s debate about refugees from the Muslim world: As pointed out by The Daily Beast’s Michael Daly in a recent op-ed, the statue itself was originally intended to represent a female Egyptian peasant as a Colossus of Rhodes for the Industrial Age. .. (snip) .. “Taking the form of a veiled peasant woman,” writes Moreno, “the statue was to stand 86 feet high, and its pedestal was to rise to a height of 48 feet.” Early models of the statue were called “Egypt Carrying the Light to Asia.”

    Source :


    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

    Excerpt from “The New Colossus”, Emma Lazarus. Written 1883, plaque withfullsonnet engraved upon it added to Statue of Liberty,1903.

  199. StevoR says

    There is a date every year when the world’s resource bank goes into overdraft.

    This year, Earth Overshoot Day is marked globally on August 2. For the rest of year we’re in the burning red.

    It’s the point when the amount of natural resources — think trees, fish and water — humanity takes from the Earth reaches the total that can be regenerated over the entire year.

    Yeah this ain’t good at all. Also has serious and disturbing implications. Which will no doubt continue to be ignored by the “leaders” of the nations most responsible -- including I hate to say, my own.

    Also :

    “After the explosion the fallout went north,” Mr Morgan said.

    “Powder, white powder killed a lot of kangaroos [and] spinifex [grass]. Water was on fire, that’s what we saw.”

    Mr Morgan said water “died” but that he and the two men he was with drank the water, even though it was still hot.

    Oh and seems we’ve possibly discovered a Moon the size of Neptune around a superjovian planet in a 290 day orbit around a sun-like star, 400 light years away :

    Via Phil Plait’s blog.

  200. says

    Everybody us still in mostly one piece.
    I think we’re all at the end of our tether and while Mr isnt a skilled communicator at the best of times, his ability to drive people up the wall only increases with stress.
    Today he wisely decided to work in the basement.

  201. says

    Kengi is recovering, slowly. He has stroke induced aphasia, so finds communication difficult right now. Both he and his father, who is also in long term recovery, are both being cared for by friends, and they are taking care of one another right now.

  202. says

    Chigau, it is, it’s just going to take a while. I’ve been sending bird photos, and his friend prints them out, and he and his dad like looking at them, and talking about their local dinosaurs.

  203. StevoR says

    Saw this on BBC news last night :

    Millions of people living in South Asia face a deadly threat from heat and humidity driven by global warming according to a new study.
    Most of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh will experience temperatures close to the limits of survivability by 2100, without emissions reductions.
    The research says the fraction of the population exposed to dangerous, humid heat waves may reach 30%.
    South Asia is home to one-fifth of the world’s inhabitants.

    Gargantuan worry for the future with massive implications and should be headline main story in the media though it predictably wrongly is not.

    Incidentally wikipedia says its actually a quarter of the worlds population :

    With a rounded up two billion human beings or so.

    Oh and in better news closer to home via Lateline :

    Warren Entsch is a champion bloke even if he is on the conservative side of our politics and equal marraige might be finally about to legally arrive here.

  204. rq says

    Best wishes out to Kengi, I’m glad to hear the news and I hope the recovery continues steadily.

    *sledgehammer*, if that helps more.

  205. blf says

    Fresh calcium carbonate with a gooey thing in the middle! Oyster top-up: vending machines on the cards for French seafood sellers (Grauniad edits in {curly braces}):

    In a change from chocolates and fizzy drinks, the French are starting to sell fresh oysters from vending machines.

    One pioneer is Tony Berthelot, an oyster farmer whose automatic dispenser of live oysters on the Ile de Re island off France’s western coast offers a range of quantities, types and sizes 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


    The Ile de Re’s refrigerated dispenser, one of the first and with glass panels so customers can see what they are buying, is broadly similar to those that offer snacks and drinks at railway stations and office buildings worldwide.

    Customers use their bank card for access, opening the door of their choice from a range of carton sizes and oyster types.

    Berthelot, who has been an oyster breeder for 30 years, sees it as an extra source of revenue rather than an alternative to normal points of sale like food markets, fishmongers and supermarkets.

    “We felt as though we were losing lots of sales when we are closed,” he said.

    “There was a cost involved when buying this machine, of course, but we’re paying it back in instalments{…} And today, in theory, we can say that the calculations are correct and it’s working.”


    Although the article mentions the issue of safety, that’s not something I’d be too concerned about. For people like Mr Berthelot, such a machine represents an important source of income. In addition, he’s obviously experienced and quite probably takes pride in his produce — he will, very likely, keep the machine and its contents in tip-top order.

  206. blf says

    Eurpol is getting quite cheeky. Actually, this is quite clever, Wish you were here: Europol releases set of postcards in bid to catch criminals (the Grauniad’s edits in {curly braces}):

    Police agency’s summer campaign aims to help national forces capture some of Europe’s most elusive fugitives

    From the ski runs of Austria, to the frites of Belgium, and crisp pilsner lager of the Czech Republic, some new postcards published on Friday do a convincing job of selling the delights of the countries they are championing.

    Perhaps, that is just as well, as the set of 21 cards is part of a summer campaign launched by the pan-European police agency, Europol, to help national forces lure in and catch up with some of Europe’s most elusive fugitives.


    As well as illustrating the delights of EU member states, the new postcards feature the personal details and photographs of Europe’s most wanted, for whom traditional investigative measures have so far not led to the location of the suspects, Europol said.


    Europol said: “Holiday destinations have proven to be popular hiding places for criminals on the run{…} The more the postcards are seen, the better the chance of police locating these criminals and putting them behind bars.”


    An example:

    “Ciao Marco,” says the Italian police’s message to Marco Di Lauro, 37, wanted for murder, drug trafficking and robbery. “Don’t you miss the taste of real Italian cuisine prepared with love by someone who really loves you? Come back to the sun-kissed shores of Italy for a truly authentic (food) experience that you’ll never forget.”

    Pictures, additional examples, and further links (including to Eurpol’s Most Wanted), at the link. (I haven’t seen any of these postcards — not yet, anyways — locally, despite being, broadly speaking, in the sort of area Eurpol is targeting.)

  207. blf says

    This part of France is under an “amber” heat warning. Locally, today’s forecast maximum is c.35℃, with it not cooling off too much until Wednesday or so. Elsewhere in southern Europe, there are “red” heat warnings and forecasts over 40℃. As such, this is apparently the most severe heatwave since the disaster of 2003, which (here in France) killed over 10,000 people (Ye Pfffft! of All Knowledge says c.14,000 in France and over 70,000 in total for all of Europe; and that 2003 was the most severe in almost 500 years, since 1540 CE (I didn’t know that — but it (2003) was certainly FECKING HOT!).)

  208. says

    Oysters are one of the things I don’t get. Mussels, well, mussels are great. The region around Re also produces some of France’s best mussels. But oysters…

    We’re getting there. You can see progress if you look closely.
    I’ll send some pics and descriptions once we’re done, because there’s some serious craft involved in this kitchen.

  209. blf says

    Oysters! Mussels! And, of course, clams! And snails! Both the local oyster / mussel / clam market stall, and specialist restaurant, know me quite well. And that restaurant has a sister restaurant (specializing in things that go moo) which does an outrageous razor clam starter (if I recall correctly, the razor clams are from somewhere around Perpignan).

  210. says

    We just got a letter from our homeowners insurance company that they are cancelling our policy due to the condition of the property, effective mid-September when it expires. I called. Our file says they inspected last on 28 July 2017. No. Nobody was here last Friday but us.

    There was an inspection last year when we refied, but no issues came up at all. Of course everybody in the underwriters office has gone home for the weekend, of course they have, so I get to spend the weekend worrying and wondering what the hell is going on and what we are going to do about it. AAAAAHHHHH!!!!

    I’ll be hding in the pillow fort, trying not to have a nervous breakdown.

  211. jimb says

    blf @ 300:
    Those both sound like great restaurants.

    Anne @ 301:
    Ugh. I *hate* when something like that happens -- I tend to obsess about all bad permutations. As Caine said -- and as usually turns out in my experience -- probably a mix-up of some sort.

  212. says

    Progress has been made, sort of. I found my note on last year’s calendar* for the insurance inspection -- 7/21/2016. So, not just a matter of being a year digit off, either. I’m trying not to think about it, but it’s going to be a long weekend.

    *After going through my stash of old calendars, because I like interesting calendars so I keep them thinking I’ll use the images some day. Then I remembered that 2016 was Van Gogh and I’d given it to Kitty. This year’s kitchen calendar is photos of owls.

  213. says

    I do hope Kengi’s recovery is going well.

    @blf, I think that mildly deranged penguin advanced to a stage where the word “mildly” is not an appropriate adjective anymore :).

    @Giliell, if your experience will be anything like mine, you will have a lot of never ending fun with your house. And by “fun” I mean anger and overwork. After you finish the renovations from start to finish, you can go back to start and go again.

    @Anne, my sympathies, I hope it will work out. I know how you feel, but I wish I did not -- I just spent a sleeples night because the sewage water tests failed again, so I cannot request the final inspection. Only ammonia has failed, everything else was good or even excelent. By 6 mg/l!

    I just learned that our law containes limits that these cleaning facilities cannot in reality reliably meet. It is essentially hit-n-miss. I was paying for professional project to avoid hit-n-miss, but it seems there is no reliable thingy on the market that can meet these criteria.

    I will try and improve the zeolith filtrer, double aeration and try once more in a few weeks. But my hopes are not high.

  214. blf says

    Charly, The mildly deranged has — or says she has — an uncle(? great-grand-nephew? …? (the relationship keeps changing, sometimes even in the same sentence)) known as “cranky off-his-rocker …”, currently said to be captaining the Larsen C megaiceberg. He’s apparently already engaged the wrap drive several times, once even reversing the neutron flow, and the last message from him said he was now sailing through the Cassini Gap at Neptune. Of course, the Cassini Gap is in Saturn’s rings, and the megaiceberg is still within a few kilometres of Larsen C, but the mildly deranged penguin says that message’s discouraging: The old bugger still thinks he’s in the solar system.

  215. blf says

    Speaking of mussels, Moules frites with a difference: Belgium cooks up reefs scheme to save beaches:

    Mussels among materials tested in pilot project to see if small artificial reefs can protect beaches from North Sea storms

    The humble mussel, that much-loved staple of Belgian cuisine, has been deployed by scientists in an innovative attempt to save the country’s storm-battered beaches.

    Small artificial reefs of mussels, algae and tube worms have been built off the Belgian coast to test whether eco-friendly barriers can protect Flemish beaches from storms brewing in the North Sea.


    In a test zone of 100 sq metres at De Panne in west Flanders, one reef will consist of seaweed planted on large textile mats tied to the seabed.

    A second method uses tube worms, which anchor their tails to rocks below the surface and secrete a mineral around themselves for protection. The worms will be grouped together to create a worm reef.

    But it is the building of a reef of mussels, for which a cord will be fixed under the water, that has really caught the local imagination. It is believed that, in time, the mussels will drop from the wire and lodge themselves to the seabed. Scientists hope that if sufficient mussels attach to each other, their shells will form a natural barrier to the sea’s currents.


    Oysters are, of course, another possibility. All that’s needed is for a carpenter to build a walrus-proof area for the oysters to walk into.

  216. says

    blf, the Carpenter ate almost as many as the Walrus did. Sensible oysters will stay far away from both of them.

    This morning I got out our homeowners insurance renewal paperwork from last year, so I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. I’ll be sitting by the phone all day Monday, I guess. 🙁

  217. rq says

    *soothing tea*
    I’m sorry you’ve been having such a stressful time lately. I hope things get better once you get more clarifying information come Monday.

  218. blf says

    Anne, no problem !
    Apologies if I sounded cross, if anything, I was amused by having my own joke explained (correctly) to me.

  219. says

    rq, blf, thanks.

    I went out to breakfast today because I deserved it, and my TJ’s shopping included two bottles* of my favorite rosé. At least I can console myself properly when things get stressed around here.

    Paul’s decided to rearrange his workroom again. The good thing (maybe the only good thing) about this weather is, he can leave his tools and stuff out in the patio while he builds new shelves. I’ve been culling craft books and reorganising my little space too. Must be nesting season.

    *Not to drink all at once!

  220. blf says

    Not to drink all at once!

    The mildly deranged penguin is offering to give lessons. (Trebuchet included.)

  221. chigau (違う) says

    I picked about 5 litres of red currants. They are simmering, Stage 1 of jelly.
    Also, picked for drying about 2-3 square foot of basil.
    Then, the predicted thunderstorm announced itself with a sudden CRACK that caused my heart to skip a beat.
    The parsley can wait ’til the morrow.

  222. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I’m thinking about living on a boat, and if I do the stoves are 2 choices: electric or propane. There’s no way I want to play with open flame on a rocking boat. Induction stoves (or, at minimum, those glass cooktops with an electric heater underneath) seem as if they should be mandatory for safety.

  223. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    The time has come, the Penguin said, to talk of many things:
    of Bra and Chèvre and Camembert,
    Of Wensleydale and String,
    and why the Wyfe of Bath is Dutch,
    and just who was Saint Myng?

  224. blf says

    Crip Dyke, With such a fine cheeseboard, you should probably expect an incoming mildly deranged penguin. You can try leaving the doors open or putting the cheeses outside, but I suspect you’ll still acquire some new ventilation in the form of penguin-shaped holes (usually in the walls, but sometimes in the ceiling, or tunnels through the nearby mountains).

    There was (and possibly still is) a nice restaurant in Bath, England, near the railway station (and opposite the police station) called The Wyfe of Bath. However, I cannot really recall their cheeseboard.


    Here in France, locally, the heat wave got dinged a bit this morning with a cloud cover and occasional light rain. It’s somewhat cooler — yesterday was dreadfully hot — albeit because of the rain, I had to keep the skylights closed all morning today, trapping the residue heat inside, so the lair is still very warm. There is now a breeze blowing the clouds & rain away, so it will heat up as the sun comes out — but the skylights are now open…


    I can’t stand electric stoves / cooktops either, albeit if I have to have one, the flat induction type is noticeably easier to maintain. My cookware works with any sort of cooker (gas & various sorts of electrics), I’ve had it since the mid-1980s and it’s still in excellent condition & working wonderfully.

  225. says

    Should I disappear for a few days completely, it is because my PC has died. One of two ethernet cards on the motherboard has given up and I was only able to boot up the thing after disabling it in BIOS. It works now with the secondary ethernet card, but it was a warning that something is going downhill. So I am looking for a new motherboard.

  226. says

    I love cooking on gas, but we just kicked gas out completely. In Germany people typically have gas pipes, not tanks and I didn’t want them and pay for the luxury of having access just for cooking.
    Oh, to add insult to injury, my trousers got caught on the edge of the old stove which of course fell off theboard with wheels where we had put it and I had to sweep the glass off the floor as well.

  227. says

    If it makes you feel better, Giliell, I just looked down to see some of the ends of my hair resting in a pool of epoxy.

  228. says

    Sorry to hear, Charly. I go through computers like water; it’s rare for me to get one that makes it past two years, and two years would be a long time for me.

  229. Ice Swimmer says

    Charly @ 325

    Ouch! If I were a bit better with the soldering iron than I am, I’d be tempted to get a working motherboard and try replacing the electrolytic capacitors of the broken motherboard if I were in the same situation.

    I think I’ve owned a computer less than 2 years old for grand total of 6 or 7 years of the 25 years of owning a computer (this Lenovo laptop is the third computer I’ve bought brand new, others have been used or hand-me-downs).

    Giliell @ Caine


  230. Ice Swimmer says

    On a lighter note:

    Swam again in the sea. The water on the surface is still warm, but cooler water is already lurking near the surface. At times, it was raining a bit.

    At one point, it felt as if I was doing a game of chicken with a tern flying near the surface (the tern was probably actually too high to be on a collision course). The idea of a sharp beak on the forehead was a bit less appealing, so I tried to duck and the tern may have risen a bit higher. Still, it was fun to watch the dive-fishing activity, the diving and the graceful arching flight paths of the dinosaur.

  231. blf says

    Rare pine marten caught on camera in Yorkshire for first time in 35 years:

    One of England’s rarest animals has been caught on camera after a four-year stakeout by wildlife experts.

    A male pine marten, last seen alive in Yorkshire about 35 years ago, was captured on a wildlife camera in the North York Moors, the Forestry Commission said.


    The sighting is the first living record in the area since about 1982 and the first confirmed record since 1993, when a skull was found.

    The pine marten arrived in Britain after the last ice age, about 10,000 years ago. They made their home in the woods that covered the country and at one point were the second commonest carnivore, with an estimated population of 147,000.

    Pine martens resemble ferrets or stoats but are significantly larger, with adults growing more than 2ft in length.


    Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge says the European pine marten (Martes martes), whilst extremely rare in Ireland, Wales, and England, can be found all over Europe (including Scotland), and is not considered to be at-risk.

  232. blf says

    The idea of a sharp beak on the forehead was a bit less appealing

    The mildly deranged penguin mostly agrees, pointing out it could get in the way of the primary beak, and what would you then do with horns? She suggests carrying a quiver of beaks, and periodically checking the beak’s (and horns’s) docking mechanism.

  233. says

    Oy. I just spent most* of an hour on the phone, most of that on hold. Apparently our insurance is not being renewed because of the condition of the yard or something. The person I spoke with couldn’t explain the now two dates of purported non-existent inspections, and she apologized but there was nothing else she could do, the policy is still cancelled, etc. So she transferred me to an agent, who set us up a new policy through one of their partners. He’s going to notify our mortgage company and all that; all I have to do is sign the email when I get it. I suspect they were looking for an excuse to not renew. The house was built in 1922, and the previous owners did a few things that aren’t exactly up to code. But at least we still have coverage.

    And then there was Paul’s windshield, which has had a little stone crack for years. It chose Saturday evening when he had gone to his political meeting to crack all the way across. He drove home very carefully. This morning I called our mechanic for windshield repair recommendations; turned out they have a guy who comes to their facility, so the car is over there now. It might even be ready this afternoon. I love my mechanic.

    *I wouldn’t call it the “better” part of an hour, either.

  234. says

    I wonder why nobody has started a nonprofit insurance coop. Just to give the insurance industry the finger.
    I bet there are laws against it.

  235. Saad says

    Cafe in Melbourne charges men 18% premium to reflect the gender pay gap

    A café in Melbourne, Australia, is giving its male customers a side of gender equity with their lattes.

    At Handsome Her, men are asked to pay an 18% premium to “reflect the gender pay gap.” Men earn an average 17.7% more than women for full-time work in Australia, a government report found. The difference is roughly the same in the United States.

    And, of course, the reaction from the bros is predictable.

    My favorite one:

    Discriminating against individuals for the group they belong to -- race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity -- is morally and legally wrong

    Exactly, dudebro. THAT IS what is being protested by the cafe.

  236. blf says

    Related, in a sense, to @338, A Chinese restaurant’s generous discount for generous bra sizes:

    An unusual promotion deal in a restaurant in Hangzhou, in China’s eastern Zhejiang province, has been making the rounds on social media in the country. This is because the discount offered is only for female customers — and it’s based on the size of their breasts.

    The ‘Trendy Shrimp’ restaurant put up a sign on July 31 with the message: The whole city is looking for BREASTS, alongside a line-up of female characters […]. Each character has successively larger breasts, and each one advertises a different discount according to bra cup size: [from 95 percent of the meal price; to 35 percent …].


    The restaurant took the advert down on August 2, after authorities received a deluge of complaints and declared that it breached advertising codes.

    [… A] review of the restaurant on Dianping, a Chinese reviewing site similar to TripAdvisor or Yelp [said]: “Besides the taste, the idea of a shop is more important. The taste is good. I knew about the promotion when paying the bill. It is disgusting. Why not do a promotion according to the size of your penis? They don’t respect women. It is vulgar. It is in my blacklist regardless of the good taste.”


  237. Ice Swimmer says

    blf @ 340

    Noting that the name of the restaurant is Trendy Shrimp. Maybe that illustrates their stance on the penis size.

  238. blf says

    A critically-endangered spider has been bred in captivity for the first time, Bristol zoo gives rare spiders a leg-up with breeding programme:

    More than 1,000 of the endangered species, which come from one island off Portugal, have hatched in captivity in a world first

    In what is believed to be a world first, one of the rarest spiders has been bred in captivity at Bristol Zoo Gardens. More than 1,000 Desertas wolf spiderlings, classed as critically endangered, have hatched. Keepers hand-reared some from tiny eggs as they are so precious. At birth, they measure 4mm across, but they will grow to 12cm, with a 4cm body.

    The species is found in a single valley on Deserta Grande, one of the Desertas islands near Madeira, Portugal. There are about 4,000 adults left in the wild and it is hoped that some of the spiderlings can be returned to their home.

    Mark Bushell, curator of invertebrates at Bristol zoo, travelled to Deserta Grande last year and collected 25 of the spiders to breed. “Because this was the first time this species had ever been taken into captivity to breed, it was a steep learning curve,” he said. “After some of the female spiders were mated, it was an anxious wait to see if they would produce egg sacs. We were thrilled when they did, and to see the tiny spiderlings emerge was fantastic — a real career highlight.”

    The spiders are classified as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of threatened species. They are under threat from habitat loss due to invasive grass binding the soil where they burrow and blocking their shelters. Bristol zoo has joined forces with the Instituto das Florestas e Conservação de Natureza and the IUCN to develop a strategy to protect the spiders.

    When one of the egg sacs broke, the conservationists carefully transferred the eggs into a miniature incubator. Once they hatched, they were placed in separate containers with sterilised soil, kept in quarantine and individually fed with fruit flies.

    Bristol zoo plans to send hundreds of the spiderlings to zoos across the UK and Europe to set up further breeding points.


    Ye Pfffft! of All Knowledge says about wolf spiders in general (not sure if this applies to Hogna ingens): “Some are opportunistic hunters pouncing upon prey as they find it or even chasing it over short distances.”

    A good friend of mine, who is an arachnophobe (and who would be, to be fair, delighted at Bristol’s accomplishment), would not be very happy to hear there are hunting spiders that will chase after you… Especially when they are the size of yer hand, as H. ingens apparently is. (The mildly deranged penguin complains that is far too small, and they should be able to chase at high speed for many kilometres — and the spider who resides behind the monitor seems to agree.)

  239. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Just completed the task of getting the last of the old DVD/VCR stuff left from the Redhead into the garbage. This involved putting some of it into digital form, as they also contained some old PBS Mystery stuff that I wanted. Then I filled out the Mystery collection with some purchases. Got the new stuff digitalized in the proper form, saved on the main computer, and its now backed-up. The only VCR cassettes left is a couple of tapes of NASA tv with the landings of the Mars Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, which I’m dithering over whether to convert them. Probably will, as I have time and plenty of HD space.

    Today I also received a large envelope from ElderCare, which I suspect contains an ID badge for driving folks to their medical appointments. Expect 1-2 trips per month. Good thing I got the Navigation SIM for the Mazda when I took it in for an oil change (first for the car, 6 months with only 2500 miles, but still free). The car knows where it is, even if I don’t.

  240. rq says

    Two out of four siblings insist the Google Manifesto, and its author, are being misrepresented. Opinions of other two siblings currently unknown. I am aghast, I thought we were better than this.

  241. blf says

    I finally got out of bed this morning (after remembering the refrigerator is almost empty) to go the morning market and get a few things (hopefully edible). After stumbling down the street towards the esplanade — stopping to check this time I’d put some clothes on (I had, they were even mine and on the correct away around) — saw a bus going along the esplanade. Huh? The esplanade is closed to traffic on Sundays for the market. And come to think of it, I don’t see any market stalls either…

    Another few moments expired before I worked out it’s Saturday today.

  242. blf says

    chigau, Solving sudoku (and similar) puzzles until I fell asleep. The esplanade last night was packed full of people, children, and baby buggies, so I returned quite early in a rather foul mood, unable to get anywhere and deafened by the screams of babies. I couldn’t even get to any of the baby-roasting stalls, although I could smell the delights on offer…

  243. chigau (違う) says

    I’ll have some tea.
    I have found a new (to me) fluffy yarn and am knitting backpads and seat cushions.
    When do we start to worry about absence of Caine?

  244. Ice Swimmer says

    There has been no post about not being around, unlike her previous absences. Also, the Friday posts may have been put up on Thursday and after that, nothing. I’m worried.

  245. blf says

    For, I think, the first time evar (despite living in France for yonks now) I saw a “waiter’s race” this early evening. I was sitting at the pub having a quiet drink and read, when a police officer on a bicycle rode by, blowing his whistle to clear people off the esplanade. That’s a bit odd, the esplanade is normally closed at that time so the evening summer outdoors market traders can set up their stalls, but people don’t need warnings to clear the street as the traders arrive. So, huh?

    Then there was this plod stomp thump thump, and a bunch of waiters slowly ran (roughly a race-walk) by, each carrying a tray with a full pichet and some glasses, giggling a bit but also quite serious. Ok. France. Whatever.

    I didn’t spot anyone in a rat costume, so I doubt there’s where our host is.

  246. says

    I am worrying for a few days now. I have a notebook, so I could read the interwebs, even though I could not write (due to it being huge pain in the nether regions to write on notebook). Now I have finally managed to fix my computer (installing new motherboard without system reinstall went like a breeze, everything seems to work just fine -- yay!), but Caine is still absent and no info.

  247. says

    I’m here! Holy fuck, I am so sorry, so very sorry! My wireless died, and the week before, I gave Rick my phone so he could have an old number transferred to it, so I didn’t have a phone, either. Apparently, dropping out of the world didn’t cause him any concern, and he didn’t get home until late last night, then it was a trip into town today to get a new unit.

    I feel absolutely awful, leaving everyone hanging, I would never do that out of choice.

  248. Ice Swimmer says

    There was a thunderstorm also here that caused power outages in rural areas. It was in the Saturday night and didn’t last very long but when it began, the the gusts of wind were extremely hard (relatively speaking), 32,5 m/s (73 mph) on the sea and 29 m/s (65 mph) on dry land, which the automated average wind speed measurement system at a land-based Finnish Meteorological Institute weather station in interpreted as a measurement error.

    A lot of trees fell and branches were torn off by the wind and roofs and tents at a music festival got damaged. Nobody seems to have died or been injured severely as a result of the storm. FMI advised people to keep indoors. The police stated today that after the storm, criminal and disorderly behaviour was very low compared to a normal Saturday evening. I didn’t experience a power outage myself, the power cables are mostly underground where I live.

  249. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    I am having a bit of down time at the moment so I have gotten into the drawing and painting again.
    Well, all those years of people saying ‘you should do children’s books’ has worn me down — looking at you Caine… :)
    So I am embarking on a children’s book. Not really a book as such, but a sequence of paintings that make up a story… Ok, a book. I may publish it as an eBook. There is some info on my site for those who know it.
    This is big and scary! What am I getting myself into!

  250. says


    Well, all those years of people saying ‘you should do children’s books’ has worn me down — looking at you Caine… :)
    So I am embarking on a children’s book. Not really a book as such, but a sequence of paintings that make up a story… Ok, a book. I may publish it as an eBook. There is some info on my site for those who know it.
    This is big and scary! What am I getting myself into!

    I am delighted to hear it! Your work deserves a huge audience. Yes, scary. It’s always scary. But fun, too.

  251. says

    I aten’t dead, just my internet.
    Apparently switching to the new address didn’t work out. Technician is coming on Friday.
    Gobi, that’s lovely.
    I could lend you the little one to write a story. Currently it’s about a princess and a dragon who save the world.

  252. says

    I wanted to ad, that after celebrating that everything is fine with my PC after motherboard change, I had spent two hours today to try and persuade the damn thing to communicate with my phone, because it had some pictures I wanted to send.

    Those damn things really are conspiring against us. Bad sun spot activity or somesuch.

  253. says

    The malice of inanimate objects. It’s probably me. I have a tendency to disrupt electrical devices with my mere presence.

  254. says

    Good news! The oil industry is apparently having trouble recruiting younger people to replace its increasingly-aged workforce. So the long-term outlook… has a ray of hope? Short-term, we damn well better keep doing everything we can to (a) stop said industry from doing further damage while it still exists, and (b) repair the damage it’s already done.
    Semi-related: An acquaintance of mine recieved a significant inheritance last year. Said inheritance included a mid-six-figures portfolio of stocks and bonds. The acquaintance discovered that the financial stocks in that collection included some of the companies that had invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline, and they had their broker sell off every one of those companies’ stocks. The reasoning was purely I wouldn’t invest in companies that build concentration camps, and I’m not investing in this bullshit, either, no consideration of what it would do to the portfolio’s economic viability.

    Fast-forward to a couple of weeks ago. Acquiantance tells me that their broker was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the financial section of their portfolio, which is apparently doing very well indeed. Seems like acquaintance isn’t the only person-with-money who’s questioning the ethics of investing in hate/oppression.

  255. StevoR says

    For those who can get iView (Australian ABC viewing thingy) this doco onthe Voyager mission : Part One & Part two.

    Is excellent, fascinating with alot of art and well as science and well worth watching.

    Incidentally its science week here in Oz (not sure if the USA has that too?) and there’s a nice summary on some remarkable recent science stories here :

    which folks will hopefully find interesting / enjoyable / useful.

  256. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    All my tubes and wires…
    And careful notes…
    And antiquated notions…

  257. Rob Grigjanis says

    StevoR @374: Your last link contains a good example of what’s horribly wrong with a lot of science journalism;

    Two entangled particles will exhibit the same properties, such as spin, position and momentum, no matter the distance between them — meaning a change to one particle will also affect the other.

    This could allow the creation of a potentially instant and unhackable communication network that has been sought after by researchers worldwide.

    The first sentence is nonsense. If there is distance between them, their positions can’t be the same. And other properties are generally complementary, not the same, because conservation laws.

    At least part of the second sentence is utter nonsense. Entanglement doesn’t allow instantaneous (or FTL) communication.

  258. StevoR says

    Dramatic scenes in Aussie Parliament tofday with LNP senator Brandis calling out Pauline Hansonm for her islamophobic stunt with video here :

    Its quite unusual from Brandis and a good reply I think.

    Wikipages here on Hanson :

    & Brandis :

    for those who aren’t familiar with them with the latter being a terrible person on a lot of issues notably refugees butstilla great reply.

  259. StevoR says

    PS. Given the xenophobic and islamophobic extremism of many of her deplorable followers its possibly a shame Pauline Hanson didn’t unknowingly walk past some of them and get subjected to their nastiness in person, maybe that might give her personal cause for reflection and rethinking her views?


    @376. Rob Grigjanis : Fair point and well spotted. I think / hope the news itself is still interesting / enjoyable even if some of the journalists aren’t quite explaining and summarising the actual science right. I’m no expert physicist myself but find this stuff marvelous and good balance to some of the horrific things happening in the world and imagine and hope that some others here may feel the same way?

    @ 377. chigau (違う) : Not yet for FTL communication I grok, maybe one day, I really hope. We’re still learning and science keeps surprising us so I wouldn’t rule it out just note that what we now know seems to do so at least from this particular angle.

    @375. gobi’s sockpuppet’s meatpuppet : I’m afraid I don’t understand your response here, sorry. Perhaps I’m missing the reference (Song? Poem? Quote by?) and being too literal? Science is a methodology of understanding the cosmos we live in, its anything but antiquated, tubes and wires belong more to engineering I’d guess but are shared across all sorts of things from the vocational to the vacational and careful note scan be made in variety of ways on pretty much everything really.

  260. rq says

    *wild applause*
    And let me just say, without having seen any of the new work (to be honest, I’ve forgotten the website, gah!), I would also (pre)order a paper copy of your forthcoming storybook. (Might sound creepy, but I want to touch your pictures. I like them!)


    Hierarchies don’t agree with me; indigestion all the way down, as it were. Swallowing one’s pride in this case, however, is supposed to have some long-term benefits. In case I drop off for a while, though, you can find me under the weight of the law and a uniform.

  261. says


    I would also (pre)order a paper copy of your forthcoming storybook.

    As would I, and I don’t have sprogs as an excuse. I have a number of children’s books for the artwork alone.

    In case I drop off for a while, though, you can find me under the weight of the law and a uniform.

    All my sympathies.

  262. rq says

    I have a number of children’s books for the artwork alone.

    I think half the books I’ve bought “for the kids” they haven’t even read, because I bought them for the pictures. There’s a couple on my list that I know they’ll never read, but I know I will buy anyway, because art. So. :)

  263. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    StevoR #379:
    The reference was to an 80’s Thomas Dollby song called ‘She blinded me with science’ -- it is often used as a rally cry for science -- even though the lyrics are more about attraction, not strange attractors ( see what I did there? ;)
    It was also used as the opening theme for the pilot episode of ‘Misfits of science’ -- anyone remember that?
    Hi RQ! I didn’t add the link for my site as it is always considered bad manners to self-promote on another’s forum. I can add it with Caine’s permission.
    It is still very early days for my little project -- I think talking about it so early is a form of commitment. :). At worst you can see me stuff-up in public!

  264. blf says

    Whilst reading this essay (which I recommend), Beards and Gore-Tex: does palaeontology have an image problem? (“Palaeontology is synonymous with excavating fossils, but the stereotype of the rugged, white, male digger, could be a barrier to diversity in Earth science”), it referred to The Bearded Lady Project: Challenging the Face of Science:

    The Bearded Lady Project: Challenging the Face of Science’s mission is twofold. First, to celebrate the inspirational and adventurous women who have chosen to dedicate their lives in the search of clues to the history of life on earth. Second, to educate the public on the inequities and prejudices that exist in the sciences, with special emphasis on paleontology. What our project sets out to do is to engage an interdisciplinary audience through two creative and interactive mediums: filmmaking and photography.

    The link is to the portraits page. Some of the ones shown are wonderful (unfortunately, there are no details on who the individuals are).

    Trailer 1 and trailer 2 (videos).

  265. says


    Hi RQ! I didn’t add the link for my site as it is always considered bad manners to self-promote on another’s forum. I can add it with Caine’s permission.

    It’s not bad manners here! Affinity is all about promoting people. Link away.

  266. StevoR says

    @384. gobi’s sockpuppet’s meatpuppet : Cheers! Thanks for that explanation -- makes sense now and much appreciated. Thought I must have been missing something. (Haven’t seen that ‘Misfits of science’ -- show either -- may have to see if I can catch that archived somewhere.


    Good short youtube clip here :

    A Better Way to Study Earth, and Lessons from Jellyfish Galaxies by SciShow Space youtube show / channel on using neutrinos to see inside Earth and a why a certain type of galaxy in (I expect dense galaxy clusters) always ahs active central supermassive Black Holes.

  267. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Re Misfits of Science:
    It really wasn’t the best of shows but I have fond memories of it. I finally found a German DVD release (Die Spezialisten Unterwegs). It is kinda sweet in a corny 80’s way.

  268. blf says

    (Two caveats here: I haven’t (yet) checked the local news, and I’m definitely “sauced” tonight (yeah, yeah, I know, don’t drunk whilst comment)…)

    Earlier tonight, when not sauced and waiting for the bus, several (four) Canadair water bombers flew in, in formation (single line) to the local bay. That immediately caught my interest, as you rarely see more than three on a “practice” flight, and I do not recall ever seeing a practice flight at twilight. It then got more interesting, as each seemed to stay on the water longer than on practice flights, didn’t drop their loads (they do so essentially immediately on practice flights), and climbed rather slowly (as-if heavily loaded).

    “Ok”, not a practice, there’s a wildfire somewhere n the general vicinity — and a scan of the skies spotted an obvious smoke plumb, which I’d previously mistaken for a feeble thunderstorm cloud. Ah

    I don’t think it was very serious. I assume the Canadairs were water-bombing the shite out of it to prevent from becoming too serious. It’s quite windy today (albeit nothing like the 70+ kpm earlier this month, and nowheres near as hot), so an air-to-land bombardment of Mediterranean Juice makes a lot of sense,

    Several hours later (now-ish) there’s no sign of a problem (other than, probably, a headache later today…).

  269. StevoR says

    Via a friend on facebook on the latest, out of sight atrocities being committed by the Australian govt against refugees being (not really) “processed” -- i.e. being jailed punitively & mistreated indefinitely for no valid reason at all in offshore concentration camps :


    “Have you noticed that there haven’t been any photos of the #NauruProtests for about two weeks?

    Here is the reason: #Nauru has a law against gathering in a public place, and this was used two weeks ago to arrest five of the protesters.

    Today they have been released from gaol, a release which was made conditional on the protests ceasing.

    The maximum penalty for this offence is one year.

    As this makes it a risk for the refugees on Nauru to protest, in particular as it can jeopardise their chance of being accepted for resettlement in the USA, I think it would be wonderful if we could support their silent and invisible continuing protest with our own, posting daily in support of them, as we have been doing for #Manus.

    #NauruProtests #EvacuateNow #bringthemhere #Amnesty4ManusNauru #IStandWithNauru #NoChildrenInDetention ”


    Then there are (Australia’s Minister for Immigration and “Border Protection”*) Dutton’s new laws trying to criminalise speaking out against crimes and abuses :

    Read the full article note the original rules here :

    “…threatened workers in immigration detention centres with two years’ jail if they spoke out about abuse or neglect. … (snip) …George Newhouse from advocacy group the National Justice Project said the existing secrecy provisions had a chilling effect on workers.

    “They told me that they were extremely concerned about the potential for them to be prosecuted,” he said.

    “In fact, I know that many of them did censor themselves and did not speak out as a result of those laws.”

    If so good the policy, why the need for such censorship and why hide so much?

    * Airquotes added by me not part of official title -- real purpose bashing refugees and whipping up xenophobic hysteria.

  270. Saad says

    Sam Harris: “I think Black Lives Matter is a dangerous and divisive and retrograde movement; and it’s a dishonest movement. I think it’s the wrong move for African Americans to be organizing around the variable of race right now… It’s obviously destructive to civil society.”

    Harrisites: Give some evidence why Sam Harris is racist!!!11

    (The Harris quote appears around the 9:30 mark in this podcast)

  271. says

    So, I’m working on the Basilisk, and Vala takes a break from trying to burrow down the back of my jeans, to get a drink of paint water, then she dunks her whole effing head in the water, then shakes all over. Work is always interesting. :D

  272. says


    Sam Harris: “I think Black Lives Matter is a dangerous and divisive and retrograde movement; and it’s a dishonest movement. I think it’s the wrong move for African Americans to be organizing around the variable of race right now… It’s obviously destructive to civil society.”

    What annoys the fuck out of me, more than anything else, about Harris and other idiots on race: “hey, it’s all in the dark distant past!” It isn’t. Civil rights in this country did not happen very long ago, it was a recent development, and it’s well within the living memory of a great many people, including myself.

  273. Saad says

    Also, he is saying a society where police choke, beat, or shoot black people to death on camera is a civil society. It’s when black people speak up and protest against the murders that it becomes uncivil.

    He’s a run-of-the-mill white supremacist.

  274. rq says

    Not that I needed convincing.
    Race is just a distraction, dontcha know, there’s more important things to look out for, like those dangerous Muslims looking to infiltrate society and subvert the culture and steal all the women!!! (Yes, I got a dose of officially sanctioned islamophobia today, why do you ask?)

  275. says

    I liked Sam Harris’s “Moral Landscape” metaphore, because it nicely visualises and explains contexts of consequentialism, which I consider to be the only moral philosophy worth thinking about. But he is a sloppy thinker overall, and I cannot stand casual racists, so theres that.

    I do not understand what is wrong with socks and sandals. I really do not. Somehow it is supposed to be hugely, even objectively wrong and aestheticaly unpleasing. Why? I feel uncomfortable with bare feet in shoes (any shoes) and get blisters, chaffes and scratches, not to mention instant sunburn on the top of the foot and dirt all over. Socks take care of all of those problems. Why has apparently the whole society decided that something practical and comfortable (at least for me) is a sign of idiocy and boorishness? I hate these completely arbitrary, illogical and sometimes downright nonsensical social norms.

  276. blf says

    Apropos of nothing much, I was checking out France24 earlier this afternoon — France’s English-language attempt at a global news service like the BBC or Al Jazeera English — and ran across this archive of a short weekly show called French Connections: “A quirky, insider’s guide to understanding France and the French, from the sublime to the ridiculous.” I found it quite fascinating & learned a few things. It is perhaps worth browsing.

  277. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    My first driving assignment for ElderCare will be next Friday. Bought a small magnetic yellow flag for the roof to make my generic looking black car more identifiable. Made sure the magnet wasn’t going to make the navigation system to go haywire with a test drive. Tried to find the pick-up address when I was on my way to the grocery store (it was only a couple of blocks from my normal route). Missed it on my first pass, as the number for that door to the apartment complex was hidden by some cars. The navigation system helped me get out of the apartment complex maze.

  278. blf says

    the apartment complex maze

    It’s actually a rotating maze with moving barriers, false doors, and numbers that change (sometimes duplicating other numbers). Not to worry, this is a simple trap; novices aren’t fed into the fiendish ones as They like you to survive for some time (the record being almost a minute).

  279. StevoR says

    This tells you who Joe Arpaio, the man Trump just pardoned, really is. In essence, a truly vile and evil bully; incompetent, sadistic, brutal, vain and a racist torturer including of totally innocent people who hadn’t been convicted of any crime :

    WARNING : Confronting & disturbing material,references to rape and sexual abuse, torture, murder, suicide, extreme racism.

    I knew he was bad but I hadn’t realised just how appallingly bad before.

  280. says

    This European mind boggles at how that could go on for two decades and people still elected that motherfucker. And at how somebody still can think it is a good idea to have directly eleceted local police officers. And how such cases are even allowed by law to be settled purely on financial basis. Joe Arpaio should have been arrested and convinced after the first financial settlement in addition to that settlement.
    Honestly, USA as a whole is not a functioning state. It is a huge clusterfuck that still somewhat functions by pure historical coincidence.

  281. Rob Grigjanis says

    Charly @398:

    I do not understand what is wrong with socks and sandals.

    Absolutely nothing. I’ve always found it a comfortable combination. What’s wrong is that people can be idiots about footwear pretty much anything.

  282. blf says

    €100m needed to save the gargoyles and gothic arches of Notre Dame:

    Cash needed to save Paris landmark which attracts 12–14 million people each year, amid fears parts of the exterior could fall
    “If we don’t do these restoration works, we’ll risk seeing parts of the exterior structure begin to fall. This is a very serious risk,” said Michel Picaud, president of the Friends of Notre Dame charity set up by the archbishop.

    Church officials, who have created what they are calling a “stone cemetery” from fallen masonry, say the cathedral remains safe to visit.

    Entry is free and the French state, which owns the building, devotes €2m (£1.9m) a year to repairs. But that is not enough to embark on major restoration works, the last of which were carried out during the 1800s, officials at the cathedral and charity said.


    Gargoyles are what people want to see when they come to Paris. If there are no more gargoyles, what will they see? Notre Dame communications chief Andre Finot said.

    I put that last bit in stooopid quotes because, um, this is Paris. The gargoyles of Notre Dame are worth a look, but by no fecking means is there nothing else to see. As just one example, Monsieur Finot, try the Louvre. It’s a ten minute walk away, albeit entrance is not, admittedly, usually free. (Hint 1: Visit the Louvre on Wednesday or Friday, when it’s open for longer. Hint 2: On the first Sunday of each Winter’s month, admission is free.)

  283. says

    Sorry, everyone, no more posts for now, admin fuck ups of the highest order. We’ve all been denied permission for uploading images. Fun fucking day.

  284. says

    Found a workaround, but I have to upload photos to my personal galleries, then grab the embed code, so things are going to be slow for a while, I suppose. The asshole server rat who did this better hope I never find out their identity.

  285. blf says

    Traces of 6,000-year-old wine discovered in Sicilian cave:

    Residue in terracotta jars suggests drink was being made and consumed on the island in the fourth millennium BC

    Researchers have discovered traces of what could be the world’s oldest wine at the bottom of terracotta jars in a cave in Sicily, showing that the fermented drink was being made and consumed in Italy more than 6,000 years ago.

    Previously scientists had believed winemaking developed in Italy around 1200 BC, but the find by a team from the University of South Florida pushes that date back by at least three millennia.

    “Unlike earlier discoveries that were limited to vines and so showed only that grapes were being grown, our work has resulted in the identification of a wine residue,” said Davide Tanasi, the archeologist who led the research.

    “That obviously involves not just the practice of viticulture but the production of actual wine — and during a much earlier period,” Tanasi said.


    The discovery “fills us with joy”, said Alessio Planeta, a winemaking expert and historian from the area, which remains one of Italy’s most important wine-producing regions. “Before this, we used to thinking Sicily’s wine culture arrived with the island’s colonisation by the ancient Greeks.”

    Rather surprisingly, the mildly deranged penguin remembers that party (or at least the start of it). The band was late, then the generator failed, so they quickly hooked up an extension cord to the MOON (Massive Orbital Cheese Vault), which also allowed her to make a few extra cheese runs for additional supplies.

    The first vin, she recalls, was a fairly typical but quite decent Sicilian Syrah, complete with the then-fashionable drowned-happily-drunk mouse. After that the band got going, the cheeses were brought out, along with more and more vin, and the memory & verticality dissolved (along with a few mice — strong wines were strong wines in those more robust days).

    She’s trying to get in contact with the archeologists, to ask them to look for the extension cord. It went missing.

  286. says

    Yay, my vacation nears end, next week back to work. I am overflowing with joy /s.

    On tha brighter note, today I was with my father at the hospital for follow-up check for his heart surgery in the spring. Everything seems to be in order and no further follow-ups are necessary.

  287. says

    Giliell, that’s a pain. I hope the driveway excavator finds your broken line.

    I was just driving back from the mall (younger daughter was stranded because her bus stop was closed and it’s way too hot to walk home), anyway, I saw a small group of people waving Trump 2020 signs. Apparently it’s election season already.

  288. blf says

    [T]he individual line connecting our house to the net is broken.

    So that’s where all the electrons are going, leaking out into the ground at your house! Explains why I was having connectivity problems yesterday…

  289. blf says

    The puppet propelling rats are getting restless, Bird Photographer of the Year 2017 (pictures): “Winning and shortlisted images from this year’s competition, from awe-inspiring action shots to charming portraits, featured in a new book celebrating some of the best bird photography of the year”.

  290. blf says

    This gentleman has an idea which would save Caine having to drag her pictures outside to photograph them — roll the entire studio outside instead — Parasite architecture: inside the self-built studio hanging under a bridge in Valencia:

    Spanish designer Fernando Abellanas has built a workspace that clings to the underbelly of a major overpass, and slides on rollers from one side to the other

    Far from the madding crowds of Valencia in eastern Spain, Fernando Abellanas is enjoying the solitude of his unique new studio. But it’s not the airy, light-filled glass and white walls affair you might expect for an architect: it’s a purpose-built desk space that hangs in the underbelly of a major city overpass.

    On one “wall” — the concrete pillar that supports the highway above — a detachable structure of plywood boards and metal tubes serve as a desk, chair and shelves. Using the bridge’s beams as rails, Abellanas’ structure can slide on rollers from one side to the other.

    It’s an example of what is becoming known as parasite architecture — buildings that cling, perch or sprout from others. The studio took Abellanas, a furniture designer and plumber, just two weeks to build after he discovered the space. He was drawn to its strange mix of materials and location. […]


    Abellanas says he wasn’t looking for “a feeling of total silence or peace, but rather that sensation you get as a kid of being able to sit and peek at what’s happening around you without being seen […]”.


    City authorities are yet to react. “I think they haven’t discovered it yet,” Abellanas says. When they do, he assumes they’ll order him to dismantle it – or that someone will break it or steal its materials. “It’s surviving a lot longer than I thought,” he says. “It’s really well hidden.”

    Mr Abellanas turns a crank to move his studio. Caine can save the bother of turning a crank to move her studio by teaching the rats to, e.g., run on a treadmill. For that matter, I presume a single forty-foot high rat can simply pick it up, carry it, and chew on it a bit.

  291. Ice Swimmer says

    blf @ 417

    Wow. a lot if goodness, the winning photo is nifty, the reflected pelican is gorgeous and the goosanders are cute. The bearded reedling and the Pacific black duck are nice mystery photos, took me a while to figure what’s what.